Bad breath is something everyone has had to deal with at one time or another. Whether you find yourself searching for mouthwash after a garlicky lunch or avoiding standing too close to a certain coworker, bad breath is never something you want to encounter. To avoid being the person others avoid talking with, follow these simple steps for keeping your mouth fresh and clean.
Bad breath, medically referred to as halitosis, can have multiple causes. While everyone gets bad breath from time to time, if it doesn’t go away, it could mean you have an oral health issue or even a condition affecting another part of your body. Because halitosis can be a warning sign of other problems, it is important to identify its source so the issue can be fully addressed.
While there are many possible causes of bad breath, many times it can be controlled through eating and lifestyle changes. What you eat and how you take care of your mouth can have a significant impact on breath odor. Here are some of the leading causes of bad breath:
The most common reason for bad breath is poor dental hygiene. Dental hygiene habits like brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings help to prevent harmful bacteria in your mouth from multiplying. When these bacteria multiply out of control they can cause a multitude of oral health problems including bad breath, gingivitis, and gum disease.
The food you eat begins to be broken down and digested as soon as it enters your mouth. Leaving food particles in your mouth after eating can contribute to bad breath. Some foods also have chemicals that enter into your bloodstream and thereby travel to your lungs and actually affect the smell of the air you exhale. These foods include garlic, onions, cheese, pastrami, soda, orange juice and alcohol, and certain spices. Brushing and flossing after eating these foods may help to mask the smell, but the odor caused by them will not fully disappear until the foods have passed through your digestive system
Dieting or fasting can also affect the state of your breath. If you are not eating often enough it leads to your body breaking down its own fat. When this happens, it can give your breath an unpleasant odor.
Gingivitis or periodontitis are both contributors to bad breath. Gingivitis involves the swelling, redness and even bleeding of the gums. When gingivitis goes untreated it can lead to periodontitis (also known as gum disease) which can damage the gum tissue, teeth, and lead to bone loss around the teeth.
Saliva is one tool your mouth uses to keep clean. If your body is not producing enough saliva, food particles are not effectively washed away, and plaque can develop on tooth surfaces more easily leading to bad breath.
Smoking often causes dry mouth and increases your risk for gum disease, leading to bad breath. The smoke itself also causes odors on your breath.
A host of other medical issues may lead to bad breath, including head or neck cancers, acid reflux, tonsil stones, diabetes, and infections of the throat, nose or lungs. If you find yourself with bad breath that will not go away (chronic halitosis) schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately as there may be a serious issue behind this symptom.
Bad breath can often be controlled by improving dental health and eating habits. These can often be simple lifestyle changes. Here are some ways you can help prevent bad breath:
Carry a toothbrush in your car or bag. Brush after every meal to eliminate food particles in your mouth that may be contributing to bad breath. Be sure to brush at least twice a day to rid your mouth of plaque that may lead to gingivitis or gum disease. When brushing is not an option you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash to help keep your mouth clean and mask unwanted odors.
Know which foods lead to bad breath and steer clear of them when you want to make sure your breath stays fresh. Avoiding food like garlic and onions, soda and alcohol can help you control breath odor more easily. Steering clear of foods that create odor when digested makes sure you have more control over how your breath smells.
Eat foods like apples, celery, carrots and hard fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat actually helps to keep your mouth cleaner. Eating hard fruits and vegetables helps to clear plaque and odor causing bacteria from your mouth and teeth.
If you love eating pastrami sandwiches with cheese or highly spiced curries, these meals may be better saved for times when you won’t have immediate interactions with other people. By planning the times you eat foods that create breath odor, you can avoid having social interactions right after you have finished an especially pungent meal.
Drinking lots of water throughout the day is a key way to prevent and help reduce bad breath. Water helps to clear away food particles and keeps your mouth moist.
Regular dental health appointments are essential to keep your mouth healthy and prevent dental health issues. By visiting your dentist every six months for regular cleanings you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. Regular appointments allow your dentist to identify dental health issues like gum disease early and begin treatment quickly.
Bad breath can control your life. It can make you feel self-conscious and avoid social situations. Don’t let your next social outing or business meeting be affected by something as small as bad breath. Dentists of Whittier is here to help you take charge of your mouth and change your life.
Don’t let bad breath govern your life! Take back control by calling our office at (562) 414-5025 to set up an appointment today.
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