Bad breath is no fun. Half the time, you don’t even know you have it, and when someone gets up the nerve to tell you, the humiliation can be excruciating. Halitosis, or chronic bad smells in your breath, cuts conversations short, makes romantic situations awkward, and can cause anyone to feel self-conscious in up-close-and-personal conditions.
More than an embarrassing conversation repellent, halitosis can be a symptom of serious dental issues. It’s typically caused by some degree of bacteria buildup. Fortunately, there are simple ways to temporarily alleviate the problem. For moderate to advanced bacteria buildup and underlying periodontal disease, you may need to seek advice from a dental professional.
Suggestions for dealing with bad smells:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, especially after eating sugary foods, which can increase bacteria buildup.
- Floss at least once per day.
- Brush or scrape your tongue. The tongue can easily get coated in bacteria, especially if you have dry mouth or use tobacco.
- Drink more water, which helps wash away bacteria.
- Try cutting back on caffeine to reduce dry mouth. Caffeine suppresses the production of saliva, the body’s natural way of cleansing bacteria from the mouth.
- Avoid onions and garlic. Brushing will not eliminate bad breath from foods like these, which release unpleasant odors that emerge through the lungs over the course of a few hours after the food is processed in the body.
- Stop crash dieting, which can cause the body to release keytones that smell sickeningly sweet as they leave the body.
- Get a new toothbrush every three months.
- For a quick, temporary fix, try home remedies like chewing parsley, fennel, and oranges, or drinking milk, pineapple juice, and green tea.
- Keep dentures and other oral appliances clean.
- Check any tooth replacements or implants, as these can be common sites of infection. Ask your dentist for the best cleaning products for inlays, onlays, and implants.
- Get a professional dental checkup and cleaning. A visit to the dentist may be the only way to diagnose and treat issues like gum disease or infection, which can be the cause of more persistent bad-smelling breath.
- If your dentist finds no sources of halitosis in your mouth, consider whether you have any respiratory infections, gastroesophageal reflux, or a more serious condition like liver failure or a metabolic disease.
Dr. Mitchmore and the staff at LifeSmiles are happy to answer any questions you have about bad breath. Regular cleanings and checkups can help prevent gum disease and other dental problems, so schedule an appointment today.