Although bad breath is the subject of some not-so-funny jokes, it is no laughing matter to suffer from halitosis. It can be worrisome from a medical standpoint as well as personally embarrassing, leading to loss of confidence and low self-esteem.
Bad breath occurs most commonly when bacteria builds up on the tongue, between the teeth and in the mouth. Its causes are many, ranging from recent consumption of pungent foods to inadequate oral hygiene, sinus infections, acid reflux or liver and kidney disease. Many bouts of bad breath are temporary and can be managed with changes to your oral hygiene routine, but prolonged and severe halitosis may require a consultation with your dental or health care provider to determine the root cause.
Prevent Bad Breath
Regularly brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent the buildup of bacteria in your mouth.
It doesn't take long after a meal for the bacteria to form; bad breath is the common result. But that doesn't mean you need to rush to brush every time you finish eating. What is important is that you follow a consistent oral hygiene regimen that includes consistent, daily home care and regular appointments for cleaning and checkups. Brush and floss for two minutes at least twice a day and don't forget to brush your tongue! Use mouthwash sparingly to freshen your mouth rather than to try to mask bad breath.
Here are some additional ways to keep your mouth feeling clean and your breath as fresh as possible:
- Eat right. Pay attention to nutrition and eat less sugar. Eating right has a whole-body impact on your health, and limiting your intake of sugary foods can minimize odor-causing bacteria as sugar feeds bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Drink plenty of water. Did you know that being dehydrated can worsen bad breath? After a meal, swish some plain water around in your mouth to help remove food particles from your teeth and gums. Sip on water during the day, rather than coffee, tea or soft drinks. It's better for your body, does not stain teeth and keeps you hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help combat the dry mouth caused by chronic disease and some medications.
- Quit Smoking. Smokers can easily eliminate smokers' breath by quitting. It's just an additional reason to kick the habit.
- Chew sugarfree gum. Chewing gum can also be a helpful way to quit smoking. The gum's flavor, particularly cinnamon or mint, will temporarily mask bad breath, but the act of chewing itself can help prevent bad breath as it produces saliva that washes away odor-causing bacteria.
- Snack on crunchy vegetables and fruits. Finish off your lunch with an apple rather than apple pie. Forgo the afternoon latte, which can stain your teeth and cause coffee breath, and boost your energy with raw vegetables like celery and carrots that produce saliva and keep your mouth hydrated.
There are a wide variety of ways to treat bad breath at home, but don't forget that the most effective way to ensure that you have a fresh, healthy mouth and a bright smile is with regular trips to the dentist for cleaning appointments and dental examinations.
If you don’t have a dentist or have additional questions about ways to prevent bad breath, click the button below to find your nearest Mountain View Family Dental office. Let's see if we can work together to help you find the best oral health.