What Causes Bad Breath?

We’ve probably all known someone with bad breath. It can be uncomfortable to engage in discussion with someone whose breath smells downright foul. It’s also a sensitive topic to broach, as well as being a very common concern – after all, each year Americans spend an estimated $3 billion dollars on breath freshening products. Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, is clearly a concern well felt amongst adults – but what is the cause?

Symptoms and Sources of Bad Breath

There are several sources of bad breath, including diet and dry mouth – both boil down to the presence of bacteria. The most common odor-causing bacteria are located on the tongue, particularly toward the back where they tend to be undisturbed. If neglected during cleaning, it’s a prime breeding ground for bacteria to feed on leftover food particles, dead skin cells, and mucus. In addition to the tongue, less common offenders include build-up between the teeth and below the gum line, increasing the bad odor. In addition to inconsistent oral care, there are other common reasons for mild cases of bad breath.

Most of us are familiar with the term ‘morning breath’ – a common reference to oral odor experienced in the early hours after waking up. Morning breath can be attributed to a dry mouth, as the result of inactivity during the night fueling bacteria production. Saliva is a natural defense against these offenders, and saliva production slows down the longer the mouth is inactive. If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, the same principles apply whether it’s morning or not. Additionally, food particles (especially sugars) remaining in the mouth encourage bacteria growth. All of this adds up to an increasingly unpleasant and embarrassing odor when you are speaking and breathing.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

When it comes to solutions, anything not addressing the presence of bacteria is a purely cosmetic fix. This includes gum, mints, and similar – sorry! The solutions very much depend on the specific source, and may be as easy as improving your general oral hygiene routine, or it could require a deep cleaning by a dental professional. A more serious cause, and subsequent solution, may be decay present in the mouth that requires removal. No matter the case, vigilant oral care will always be helpful in terms of avoiding unpleasant breath!

Bad breath, while harmless, can be an indicator your oral care habits are insufficient. If you are concerned about your breath, try brushing and flossing more thoroughly to remove any lingering bacteria. If the problem persists, contact your dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan!

ADS South, LLC
120 Istoria Drive
St. Augustine, FL 32095

Phone: (770) 664-1982

ADS South:

Since 1984, ADS South has served practice transition, apprasial, associateship services, pre-retirement transition support and expert testimony needs. ADS is known by its impeccable reputation as being fair, honest and effective in helping dentists plan and implement their transition strategies.

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A Story of Three Dentists

Back in 2002 our firm encountered three dentists within a one year period who experienced the same event – death.

keys on metal key ringDr. A called our office, saying that he was going into the hospital for tests and needed a dentist to cover his practice, which we provided. I visited him at the hospital and his condition was so serious that he and his wife decided to sell his practice. I was given a key to the office and with the help of a dentist who was familiar with the practice’s software, I was able to quickly gather all of the information required to perform an appraisal and prepare a marketing package. The next day I contacted a prospect from our database, showed the practice to him and went over the practice figures and other information he requested. After several hours of inspection and study, he made a full price offer. The following day Dr. A died. During the following week, sale contracts were distributed and reviewed and a lease for the office and financing were obtained. The sale closed ten days later with the widow receiving the full price in cash.

Dr. B was exercising when he suddenly died. Our firm had coincidentally performed an appraisal of his practice six months earlier. Upon his death, his accountant and widow contacted our firm to sell the practice. Our first step was to provide a dentist to provide continued care for patients of the practice. With a current appraisal and marketing material in hand, we contacted a prospect from our database who quickly made an offer of 94% of the appraised price. Dr. B’s widow was paid in full in cash three weeks later.

If you’re looking to sell your dental practice, marketing with a professional gets it done faster!

Dr. C died in his office of a sudden heart attack. The family attorney commissioned us to perform an appraisal of the practice but elected to try sell the practice himself. After four months of no activity the attorney contracted us to sell the practice. The attorney failed to place a dentist in the practice to provide continuing patient care. The doors of the practice were essentially shut for four months, during which time practice value, as well as interest in the practice, had dropped precipitously. We immediately placed a locum tenens dentist in the practice to try to revive patient activity, which was minimal. Finally, five months after the owner’s death, a purchaser was found. The practice sold for one third of its originally appraised value.

Dr. A and Dr. B’s practice sales were as successful as if they had not suddenly died. Dr. C’s outcome was much less successful.

There are several factors in post-death practice sale success. The first is the use of a locum tenens dentist to continue the practice operation. Keeping the practice active is vital in preserving value and marketability. Many patients are lost when a practice is closed or when well-meaning nearby dentists cover the practice.

Another factor for success is enlisting a professional practice broker, even though the family may already have interested prospects. Expertise and experience are critical in marketing, prospecting, qualifying, financing and selling a practice. Having prospects to immediately contact for a sale is invaluable.

However, without complete and current practice data, even the best practice broker will be ineffective. Dentists rarely assemble this information during their lifetime. The task invariably falls on a grieving spouse who does not know what to look for, where to look, or who to call. The lack of complete practice information and a professional approach to marketing the practice may easily result in losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The process of gathering practice information and pre-planning the practice sale process is practically impossible for a spouse, especially when the spouse is not involved in the practice. However, the process is relatively quick and easy for a dentist. Wise dentists will make this small investment of time and effort to ensure the best practice value and success for their family, patients and staff.

A free appraisal kit can be downloaded from our website.

Earl M. Douglas, DDS, MBA is the founding president of American Dental Sales. He is president of Professional Practice Consultants, Ltd. and personally serves the Southeast with affiliates nationwide. He can be reached at 770-664-1982 or visit our website.

Earl M. Douglas, DDS, MBA, BVAL.
Published in Dental Economics, September 2003