What can you do about it?
We’ve all been there…you’re talking to someone and get a whiff of their breath and feel like you’re going to pass out because it smells so bad. This is why most people are self-conscious about how their breath smells, and there are so many products available to combat bad breath. What causes it in the first place? How can you prevent it from happening?
Bad breath, or halitosis, is something that we all dread, whether it’s having it or being around someone who does. It can be caused by a wide variety of things, such as certain foods, habits, and health conditions. All of these things can influence the “scent” of your breath.
When foods start to break down in your mouth, it increases the number of bacteria, resulting in a foul odor. Other foods, like onions and garlic, get broken down by your digestive system and enter your bloodstream, which gets carried to your lungs and affects your breath. Using tobacco is associated with bad breath. It’s also associated with a higher chance of gum disease (another cause of bad breath). Another thing that can cause gum disease is poor dental hygiene. When you don’t take care of your teeth, it results in plaque (a colorless, sticky film of bacteria) building up in your mouth, which produces an odor. Also, it can lead to an infection, which is also a cause of bad breath.
A dry mouth (xerostomia) can lead to less than optimal breath because salvia helps cleanse your mouth because it removes particles. For those who sleep with their mouth open at night, this is why you have “morning breath.” If you have a sinus infection or small stones that form on your tonsils (these are covered in bacteria), you’re more likely to have bad breath. Other medical conditions, such as certain cancers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or certain metabolic disorders, can result in bad breath. Some medications cause it as well.
The most important, and easiest, way to treat bad breath is by practicing good oral hygiene regularly. Typically, this involves brushing your teeth and tongue at least twice daily, but ideally after every meal with fluoride-containing toothpaste. When your toothbrush becomes frayed (about every 3 – 4 months), you should replace it. You should also floss at least once a day. If you wear dentures or other dental appliances, make sure to clean them thoroughly at least once daily. It’s also vital to make sure it fits properly. Everyone should visit the dentist twice yearly to make sure that their teeth and gums are healthy. If these measures aren’t effective, your dentist can recommend a mouth rinse or toothpaste that contains antibacterial agents. If you have gum disease, you may need to see a periodontist (a dentist specializing in treating it).
To avoid dry mouth, don’t use tobacco and drink plenty of water. To stimulate saliva, chew gum or suck on candy (preferably sugarless). If you have chronic dry mouth, talk to your dentist about artificial saliva preparations or medications that encourage the flow of saliva. Avoid foods that produce bad breath, such as onions, garlic, and sugary foods.
When it comes to preventing bad breath, the methods are the same as treating it. To be able to do this, you need to be aware of the cause. After figuring this out, it’ll be easy to find a solution that’ll work.
No one wants bad breath! By following the measures mentioned, you’ll be on your way to having fresh breath. If you have any questions or concerns about bad breath, please speak with your doctor. If you would like more information, please visit the American Dental Association’s Bad Breath page at https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/bad-breath