Everyone experiences bad breath, also known as halitosis, at some point in their lives. Fortunately, in most cases, it can be avoided. Although many causes of bad breath are harmless, some causes can be a sign of something more serious. If you struggle with bad breath all the time, take a look at these few easy steps that can be taken to prevent this embarrassing problem.
How to Fix Bad Breath
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is very important in the fight to prevent bad breath, yet many people still overlook it. To maintain good oral hygiene, start by brushing your teeth twice a day at least. Follow this up with FLOSSING your teeth daily to help prevent cavities and reduce bacteria-causing plaque. Think about leaving food out on a 98.6-degree day and then eating it. EW. That’s exactly what we do when we leave food between our teeth without flossing. Scraping the tongue to remove bacterial coating and sinus drainage that collects can also improve breath. Tongue scrapers can be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies. Finally, using a mouth rinse is helpful. It’s only a “band-aid” though when not used in conjunction with proper brushing, flossing and tongue scraping.
Pay Attention to What You Eat
The food you eat gets chewed and digested, only to resurface when you breathe and speak. Intense ingredients like garlic, onions, and some spicy foods are some of the worst offenders that can lead to bad breath. Eat more vegetables and herbs like celery, carrots, and parsley. Because of their higher water content, these types of foods will help flush your mouth with debris.
If you can’t follow up a meal with brushing or mouthwash, drinking fluids, especially water, can help clear your mouth of food particles and bacteria. Steer clear of fizzy drinks and instead drink plenty of water. The excess sugar in the soda will bind to your teeth and gums. Mixing sugar with the remnants of your last meal can cause bad breath.
Chew Gum After Eating
Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum (particularly those with the ingredient XYLITOL) after a meal can help freshen your breath and increase saliva production, so your mouth can naturally flush out food particles and bacteria. Be wary of mints. At best, mints only mask bad breath. At worst, mints will be loaded with sugar that will stick to your teeth and make the problem worse.
As mentioned above, bad breath can be caused by a decreased flow of saliva. Saliva plays a significant role in digestion and helps to remove odor-causing particles in the mouth. Bad breath when you wake up in the morning is considered normal.
Bad morning breath happens because the saliva that rinses away decaying food and odors during the day, diminishes while you sleep. Overnight, dry mouth can occur and dead cells stick to your tongue as well as the inside of your cheeks. Unpleasant as it might sound, bacteria use these cells as a food source and expel foul-smelling gases.
Offensive Bacteria and Gum Disease
Gum disease (periodontitis) can be a contributing factor to bad-smelling breath. Early stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, is also an inflammatory response to a build-up of bacteria originating in plaque that has not been properly removed from the teeth.
Plaque buildup will occur because of poor brushing and flossing. As soon as plaque is established, it can only be removed by your dentist or dental hygienist. Plaque is a reservoir of bacteria, that can travel to other parts of the mouth, especially the tongue and is responsible for a significant amount of halitosis. Bad diet and habits can also lead to cavities that also contribute to chronically bad breath.
High protein, Low Carb Diets
High protein, low carb diets can encourage your body to burn fats for energy instead of carbohydrates. This type of diet can lead to a condition called ketosis. Ketosis is also caused by elevated ketone levels. The specific offender is acetone, a ketone that exits the body from your urine and breath.
The good news for those experiencing ketosis is that within a few days of ketosis, the odor will subside as your body adjusts to a lower carbohydrate intake. This may take a couple of weeks, however, there are a few things you can do to freshen your breath in the meantime. Drinking more water, chewing gum, brushing your tongue, and rinsing with a mouthwash, can often mask the odor until your keto breath subsides.
If you are suffering from bad breath because of poor digestion, a probiotic might improve the situation. Probiotics can restore the balance of acid in your digestive tract, which will give you some relief. Bad breath from more serious stomach issues can be more perplexing than typical bad breath, as it is harder to identify, isolate and treat. Kidney disease and stomach ulcers also play a role in bad breath in the form of an ammonia-like smell.
Bad breath can’t always be blamed on bad mouth hygiene. In fact, sometimes the problem goes much deeper than poor oral hygiene. It doesn’t hurt to talk to your dentist when in doubt.
All Smiles Family Dentistry in Omaha, NE
At All Smiles Family Dentistry, we are proud to provide high-quality care to all our patients both young and old thanks to our compassionate and experienced dental team. We offer a clean and comfortable clinic to help you feel relaxed during your visit. Contact All Smiles Family Dentist or schedule an appointment online.