Do people frequently ask if you’d like a mint or a stick of gum? Do coworkers call your desk to ask questions even if they sit in the cubicle next to yours? Do your children pull the covers over their heads when you lean down to kiss them goodnight? If you answered yes to these questions, you may suffer from bad breath.
Clinically known as halitosis, frequent bad breath can cause you to feel anxious during social and business situations, and negatively affect your self-confidence. You might not even realize you suffer from bad breath until someone considerate, or slightly inconsiderate, mentions it to you.
Causes of Bad Breath
You can still deal with bad breath even if you brush regularly. Besides the buildup of foul-smelling bacteria in your mouth that brushing helps wash away, lingering food particles stuck between your teeth can also cause halitosis. If you don’t floss prior to brushing, you’re only removing half of the material in your mouth that makes speaking face-to-face with others a risky proposition.
Another frequent culprit of bad breath, pungent foods such as onions, garlic, and certain types of fish. You can’t cover up the stench of strong-smelling foods after you’ve eaten no matter how many mints you munch or mouth wash you guzzle. When you body begins to break down these noxious substances, particles move to your lungs, which causes each breath you expel to smell like a slightly less appealing encore of what you had for lunch. Unfortunately, you’re stuck apologizing for your breath until your body fully processes what you’ve eaten.
Other causes of bad breath can include dry mouth, the use of tobacco products, certain medical conditions, and gum disease. While most of these conditions are reversible, the better job you do of maintaining your oral health, the less likely you are to suffer from bad breath.
Ways to Rid Yourself of Bad Breath
While there are several ways to eliminate bad breath, by far the most effective remains brushing and flossing daily. When the time comes to brush, not only do you need to give those pearly whites a through scrubbing, you also need to give your tongue a good scrapping. By brushing the tongue, you remove foul-smelling bacteria, which build up to cause bad breath. A recent study found that participants who regularly scrubbed their tongue while brushing reduced their perception of having bad breath by 70 percent.
If you find that persistent bad breath is still a problem, try gargling regularly with an antimicrobial mouthwash. In addition to giving your breath that minty fresh aroma, antimicrobial mouthwash can also help to eliminate excess plaque that builds up in those hard to reach places of the mouth.
As previously covered, what you eat plays an important role in how your breath smells, and not just if it has a funky odor. Foods that cause you to experience acid reflux can result in you belching sour stomach acids. Over-the-counter antacids can help to reduce acid reflux and eliminate foul smelling stomach odors.
Of course, eating certain foods can also help improve how your breath smells, as well. Yogurt replenishes your gut with a type of healthy bacteria that can help eliminate odors and promotes a healthier mouth. Celery can also remove foul-smelling bacteria from your mouth, and studies have shown that parsley contains antifungal and antibacterial properties.
If you don’t have the time or opportunity to brush following each meal, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps to wash away any lingering food particles that remain in your mouth after eating. And unlike soda, fruit juice, or energy drinks, water contains no sugar.
Finally, it’s important that you schedule regular checkups and cleanings with Dr. Michelle to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy and disease free. Dr. Michelle can spot early signs of tooth decay and gum disease that could not only lead to bad breath, but tooth loss and root rot as well.