Bad breath (halitosis) strikes everyone at some point, and some people don’t even know they have it because people around them are afraid to tell them. Fortunately, bad breath is easy to fix by addressing oral hygiene and other issues such as diet, medication, and food.
Finding out if you have bad breath
A buildup of bacteria in the mouth causes inflammation and creates the unpleasant odors or gases that can lead to bad breath. Everyone is familiar with morning breath, but it’s not always easy to know if you have bad breath. The best way to discover if your breath is unpleasant is to ask someone you trust well if your breath is bad. Another way to detect bad breath is by looking and smelling your dental floss after you use it. If the dental floss has blood on it or smells unpleasant, that means the foul smells are in your mouth. Not the most pleasant endeavor finding out if you have bad breath but vital so you can properly and promptly address it.
Causes of bad breath
Research indicates that 80% of bad breath has an oral source such as poor oral hygiene, gum disease, cavities, tonsils with trapped food particles, unclean dentures or cracked fillings. There are also medical conditions that can lead to bad breath such as chronic bronchitis, respiratory tracts infections, liver disease and diabetes. If you suffer from acid reflux or chronic dry mouth, it’s a good idea to visit the doctor and see if they’re causing bad breath.
Good oral hygiene helps prevent bad breath
When you keep your scheduled dental appointments and go at least every six months for regular cleanings and exams, you have a better chance of preventing and treating bad breath. Good oral hygiene including brushing and flossing combats bad breath as you remove odor-causing bacteria before it can build up and lead to unpleasant odors. Electric toothbrushes work well for brushing because they clean the teeth in a uniform motion that can remove plaque more efficiently than manual toothbrushes. Using a mouthwash or mouth rinse that’s antiseptic or antibacterial can help fight bad breath by reducing bacteria-causing plaque and preventing cavities.
Diet changes can remedy bad breath
The food you take in your mouth affects the smells that come out of your mouth because as digestion occurs, your body absorbs the food into your blood stream and then expels it from your lungs when you breathe. A healthy, balanced diet can prevent bad breath as can avoiding extreme fasting or very low-carb diets that can lead to unpleasant breath. Snacking on foods like celery, apple slices, and carrots can help remove other food debris from your mouth, as they’re watery and promote saliva production. Known bad-breath causing foods include onions, garlic, and spicy foods so if you consume them, be prepared to clean and freshen your mouth in some way afterward.
Additional ways to fix bad breath
Along with ruling out and addressing any medical conditions, maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly, you can also fix bad breath by:
- Drinking enough water to stay hydrated and clean harmful bacteria and food particles from your mouth
- Avoiding excessive coffee intake as it can leave a heavy smell on the back of your tongue
- Avoiding or stopping use of all types of tobacco products
- Reducing alcohol intake as it can lead to dry mouth and unpleasant odors
- Chewing sugarless gum to help with saliva production that removes bacteria and debris
- Choosing sugar-free mints after dinner instead of the sugary mints given in restaurants that can coat your teeth with sugar and worsen bad breath
Bad breath can be embarrassing, but it’s important to realize that there are numerous treatment options that can reverse the problem and have you smiling and speaking confidently again. If you’re dealing with bad breath you can’t seem to beat or have any other dental concerns, contact Chianese Dental to set up an appointment.