Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a major cause of embarrassment and self-consciousness. Whether it’s a first date, a job interview, or just hanging out with friends, bad breath can make it hard to feel confident and comfortable in social situations. But what causes bad breath, and what can you do about it?
If you’ve ever been stuck in conversation with someone and noticed that their breath has an unpleasant odor, then you know how uncomfortable bad breath can be. Unfortunately, it’s also something that many people suffer from on a daily basis.
Bad breath (also known as halitosis) is typically caused by bacteria present on the teeth and debris on the tongue. Poor oral hygiene and gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are major contributors to bad breath. Dry mouth is another common cause of bad breath; this condition occurs when the salivary glands cannot make enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Other potential causes of bad breath include tonsillitis, respiratory infections such as sinusitis or bronchitis, some gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes and advanced liver or kidney disease. Tobacco use, and conditions like sinus infections or gastric reflux are also possible causes.
If you’re struggling with bad breath, it’s important to consider all of these factors and address them as best you can.
Treating Bad Breath
The key to treating bad breath is identifying its cause – so if you’re suffering from chronic halitosis, it’s important to visit your dentist for a professional evaluation first. This will help rule out periodontal disease and identify any oral problems that may be contributing to your bad breath.
Once any underlying health issues have been addressed, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk for developing bad breath in the future:
- Brush twice a day for two minutes each time using fluoride toothpaste
- Floss regularly at least once per day
- Use a tongue scraper every morning to remove bacteria from the surface of your tongue
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Avoid smoking and other tobacco products
- Chew sugar-free gum after meals (this helps stimulate saliva production)
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and exams
- Consider using a specialty mouthwash designed specifically for treating chronic halitosis
Another good strategy is to avoid foods that are known to cause bad breath. These include things like garlic, onions, and spicy foods.
Additionally, if you’re experiencing dry mouth due to medications or dehydration, talk with your doctor about ways to restore moisture in your mouth. This may include drinking more water or taking certain supplements designed to increase saliva production.
While there isn’t one single solution that will eliminate all cases of bad breath, there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing it in the first place and there are treatments available if it does occur. With proper dental care and lifestyle changes such as brushing twice a day for two minutes each time with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly at least once per day, most people can enjoy fresh-smelling breath all day long. By following these simple steps, home owners can minimize their risk for developing bad breath altogether.