Halitosis, usually called bad breath, is a problem that affects all of us from time to time. Whether it stains an intimate moment with a partner or interrupts a meeting at work, it can be embarrassing to notice and deal with. But what exactly causes bad breath, and what can we do to get rid of it? Can we prevent it from ever happening? Let’s explore halitosis and see how we can make our breath smell fresh and clean.
What Causes Bad Breath?
If we want to understand how to get rid of bad breath, we need to know the root cause. Most of the time, bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene habits. If someone suffers from frequent halitosis, it probably has something to do with inconsistent or inefficient brushing and flossing habits. But that isn’t the only problem that can result in halitosis. A few other common culprits include:
- Dry mouth – Dry mouths can result from smoking, dehydration or certain medications. Saliva cleanses your mouth, so if you don’t have enough of it, odors can build up.
- Gum disease – While poor oral hygiene is often the cause of gum disease, the disease itself can cause bad breath. Gingivitis is a common issue. When gums swell up due to gingivitis, the buildup of plaque can stink.
- Liver or kidney problems – Your liver and kidneys filter toxins out of your body, so if they aren’t working properly, the buildup of toxins can reach your mouth. These often smell bad.
- Tonsil stones – If food gets stuck in your tonsils, it can harden into minerals that cause halitosis.
- Assorted other diseases – Diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and head and neck cancers can also sometimes cause halitosis.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Now that we know a little about what causes bad breath, what can we do to get rid of it? Better yet, how can we prevent it from ever happening to begin with? Most of the time, you’ll find the answers to these two questions are the same: eliminate the root causes. Let’s explore a few ways to do that.
- Brush your tongue – Have you ever woken up in the morning with a gross taste on your tongue? That’s a colony of bacteria that’s developed overnight. Sometimes people focus their brushing efforts on teeth, which makes sense, but bacteria and food debris can build up on your tongue too. Be sure to brush your tongue thoroughly each time you brush your teeth.
- Stay hydrated – Drinking enough water has an enormous amount of health benefits, but aiding saliva production is one. With plenty of saliva, gross smelling bacteria and debris are more likely to get washed away.
- Brush and floss thoroughly and consistently – Always brush your teeth twice per day and floss once per day. This one habit may be enough to prevent halitosis entirely, and it also protects your teeth from decay and disease.
- Eat foods with fibrous tissue – Did you know that certain foods clean your teeth while you eat them? Fibrous foods like apples stimulate your gums and help remove plaque from teeth. Apples are especially a good choice because they stimulate saliva production. They’re also healthy and taste great.
- Don’t use tobacco products – Quitting tobacco has a ton of health benefits, but not putting toxic compounds into your mouth each day will do wonders for your breath.
- Choose gum over breath mints – If you’re worried about having bad breath, you might be tempted to grab a breath mint for its minty scent. Unfortunately, these mints are usually no better than candy and can do more harm than good. Gum is a great alternative because it stimulates saliva production and rubs against your teeth while you chew. Both of these can help prevent bad breath.
- Visit your dentist regularly – A good home hygiene routine is crucial for maintaining oral health, but there’s only so much you can do on your own. It’s important to visit your dentist twice per year for a cleaning and check up. Your dental hygienist and dentist will be able to give you a much more thorough cleaning than you can manage on your own. They’ll also be able to examine your mouth and look for any potential problems that could cause future oral health issues like bad breath.
Visit Cobblestone Park Family Dental for your next checkup and cleaning
Whether you’re having trouble with bad breath or not, our dental experts can help you maximize your oral health. Come visit us next time you need a checkup and cleaning. If you’re having a specific problem, we’re also happy to offer treatments for all manner of oral health needs. Contact Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry to make an appointment with our team today.