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 Gregory C. Dilger D.D.S.           General Dentist            1353 Edgewater St.          West Salem          (503) 378-0466   

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Bad Breath Information Sheet

Are you concerned that you have bad breath and are embarrassed or self conscious about it? Help is here for you because in many situations bad breath is very treatable.

What is Halitosis?

More than 80 million people suffer from chronic halitosis, or bad breath. In most cases it originates from the gums and tongue.

What causes bad breath?

The odor is most often caused by wastes from bacteria in the mouth, the decay of food particles, other debris in your mouth, poor oral hygiene and the resulting infection. The decay and debris produce a volatile sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor, and causes the gums to become “leaky”.

Does bad breath come from other sources than the mouth?

Bad breath also may occur in people who have a medical infection, diabetes, kidney failure or a liver malfunction. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath. Even post nasal drip may cause bad breath.

Why is saliva so important in the fight against bad breath?

Saliva is the key ingredient in your mouth that helps keep the odor under control. It helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. When you sleep, the salivary glands slow the production of saliva allowing the bacteria to grow inside the mouth. If you are bothered by "morning mouth", Dr. Dilger may suggest a simple appliance to use overnight. Morning mouth may also be associated with hunger or fasting. Those who skip breakfast, beware, because the odor may reappear even if you've brushed your teeth.

Do certain foods cause bad breath?

Yes, very spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, may be detected on a person's breath for up to 72 hours after digestion. Onions, for example, are absorbed by the stomach, and the odor is then excreted through the lungs. Studies have even shown that garlic rubbed on the soles of the feet can show up on the breath. Coffee and tobacco products are also frequent culprits.

How do I control bad breath?

It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. Proper brushing, including brushing the tongue, cheeks and the roof of the mouth, will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. To alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum also may help control odor. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or a mouth guard, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouth rinses, deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with Dr. Dilger, because these products may only mask the odor temporarily. There are products that are effective, but some products work better than others.

If bad breath persists it may be a sign that you have Periodontal (gum) disease. Don't ignore this, come in for a free consultation with Dr. Dilger on your options to treat this serious infection. Click here to learn more about gum disease and its treatment.

What is my dentist's role?

Regular dental checkups will help detect any physical problems or infections. When you get your teeth checked, be sure to schedule a cleaning at the same time. This helps get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. If you think that you suffer from bad breath, don't be shy to ask Dr. Dilger. Tell him you are concerned so he can help determine its source. Or, if he believes that the problem is caused from a systemic (internal) source, he may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.

 July 1 2009

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Patient Testamonials


Dear Dr. Dilger:


It all started with my initial phone call to Dr. Dilger's office. I felt so comfortable from the start and after I came in for my first visit it's been all about what I want and what Dr. Dilger and his staff recommends for me. All around, it's been the best dental experience I've ever had.


Al P.




Going to the dentist used to be a nightmare experience for me. That's all changed when I came to Dr. Dilger. Dr. Dilger's office staff are so warm and welcoming. Visiting them is like going home. Dr. Dilger's calm and caring manner erased all my dental anxiety and for the first time in my life I found myself relaxed in a dental chair. Dr. Dilger and his staff really took the time to get to know me and my concerns. They talked with me about my fears and helped me address my anxiety. Now I visit the dentist and I'm not afraid. I can not express the difference Dr. Dilger has made in my dental life! Thanks so much Dr. D.


Molly F.




I love my new smile.  It was so easy too.  Nearly pain free.  I am considering my lower teeth at a later date.


Debbie E.