Image via Flickr by Randall Wick
Bad breath can be embarrassing at best and anxiety-inducing at worst. It’s easy to see why stores stock entire aisles with mints, gum, breath freshening sprays, mouthwashes, and more. But covering up an embarrassing odor does nothing to solve the problem. Bad breath actually develops from poor dental health or hygiene, but there are ways to prevent and treat it.
Bad breath, or halitosis, affects an estimated 25% of people. Some may not even notice they have it until a friend brings it to their attention. There are many causes of bad breath, including food, tobacco products, dry mouth, medications, and infection. Although, the number one culprit is poor dental health. Not brushing and flossing daily can lead to bacteria between teeth and on the surface of the teeth, gums, and tongue. Gum inflammation can lead to gingivitis. Additionally, food particles can become trapped between teeth contributing to bad breath.
The good news is that there are many ways to not only treat bad breath but also prevent it altogether. Preventing bad breath starts with improved dental hygiene, including flossing regularly. Brushing twice a day, and even after meals, could also make a big difference. Make sure to use mouthwash afterward to enhance the freshness of your breath and kill additional bacteria.
Choosing snacks like sugar-free gum or apples can help produce more saliva, which makes your salivary glands work better to keep your mouth clean. Drinking lots of water can have the same benefit and also improve your overall health. If you’re a smoker, consider kicking the habit. Cigarette smoke lingers on the breath, and no amount of mints can mask it. Plus, the overall health benefits of quitting smoking or vaping far outweigh just curing your halitosis.
Regular visits to the dentist can be the biggest help in stopping your bad breath in its tracks. Be sure to schedule an appointment at least twice a year and consider going more often if you have other dental health concerns. If your dentist determines that your bad breath doesn’t originate in your mouth, a referral to your family doctor or primary care physician can help you get to the bottom of it.
Although bad breath can be embarrassing, there are many things you can do to reverse and prevent it from happening in the future. To review: Limiting tobacco use, discovering which medications cause halitosis, and changing your food habits are all good places to start. Identifying dry mouth or infections of the mouth, nose, and throat can also help. Finally, improving your dental hygiene by brushing twice daily, flossing regularly, using mouthwash, and scheduling regular oral exams and dental cleanings can set you on the path to fresher breath.
For questions about bad breath or to schedule an appointment, the dedicated team at The Dental Care Center is happy to help.