Tips to Banish Bad Breath

Be honest: Do you have bad breath? While no one likes to hear it, it’s worse not to know.

Everybody has yucky breath on occasion, especially first thing in the morning. The sad truth is that some people don’t realize their breath is chronically bad because those closest to them are afraid to tell them.

If you’re not sure if your breath is bad, the best way to find out is to ask a trusted friend or your significant other. Another way to tell is to look and smell your dental floss after you use it. If it smells bad, there are probably foul odors in your mouth.

The good news is that things as simple as improved oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist may help reduce bad breath. If that doesn’t help, you may need to consider other factors. Often things such as medications, special diets and certain foods are the real culprits.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious odors or gases that smell like sulfur.

There are no statistics on what percentage of the population has bad breath. That’s because studies usually rely on someone reporting whether or not they think they have bad breath and may not be accurate.

Eighty percent of bad breath usually comes from an oral source. For instance, cavities or gum disease can lead to bad breath, as can tonsils that have trapped food particles, cracked fillings, and less-than-clean dentures.

Several internal medical conditions also can cause your breath to smell badly. These include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections and chronic bronchitis.

Keep Brushing

Good oral hygiene is key to fighting bad breath. Ideally, you should brush and floss after every meal to help reduce the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.

While a regular toothbrush works well if you use it as recommended, most dental experts recommend using an electric toothbrush. Because many electric toothbrushes have timers on them, they help ensure people brush for the recommended length of time. Also because electric toothbrushes distribute a uniform motion, they help remove plaque more efficiently than manual toothbrushes.

Some mouthwashes or mouth rinses can help prevent cavities, reduce bacteria-causing plaque and fight bad breath. Stick to an antiseptic or antibacterial rinse that kills bacteria, rather than a cosmetic rinse that just focuses on freshening the breath.

Watch Your Diet

What you eat effects what you exhale. That’s because as food is digested, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and then is expelled by your lungs when you breathe.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet and regular meals. Certain diets —such as extreme fasting and very low-carb diets—can give you bad-smelling breath.

Consider snacking on raw carrots, celery or apple slices. Avoid breath busters such as garlic, onions, and some other spicy foods. Chronic garlic users cannot only have chronic bad breath, they also often have body odor.

Other Ways to Eliminate Bad Breath

• Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth.

• Don’t drink too much coffee. Coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue. Consider switching to an herbal or green tea.

• Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can foul your breath.

• Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath reek for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.

• Chew sugarless gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow.

• Be careful with breath mints. Sugar-free mints are fine for a quick fix but they only mask the offensive smell and don’t do anything to remove harmful bad bacteria.

If you have any questions, be sure to give us a call or better yet, come see us. We’re here to help! 

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