Who’s to Blame for Bad Breath?
We’ve all had those days when we wake up and…dragon breath. How about right when you’re about to give a presentation or have a first date and you can only taste onions? Halitosis, or bad breath, is extremely common and in many cases harmless. However, there are times when bad breath can indicate something more serious. So what’s to blame?
- Bacteria: Your mouth naturally houses hundreds of types of bacteria that feed on leftover food and produce a foul-smelling waste product. Furthermore, your mouth serves as a warm environment perfect for bacterial growth, making bad breath a possibility at any time.
- Dry mouth: It’s exactly what it sounds like-your mouth just simply isn’t making enough saliva, which works 24/7 to wash out your mouth. Less saliva=less cleanliness. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems
- Gum Disease: Constant, unwaning bad breath can be a sign of advancing gum disease which is caused by buildup of plaque, a cavity-causing bacteria.
- Smoking and Tobacco: smoking stains your teeth and gives you bad breath (not to mention many other health problems). Tobacco users have a reduced ability to taste and smell, so they may not be aware of how bad their breath smells.
With this list, it’s almost like bad breath is inevitable- but there are indeed ways to combat it!
- Brush and floss: A no brainer! This will help keep stinky bacteria at bay.
- Don’t forget your tongue: if you stick your tongue out, you may see a white or brown coating at the very back, close to your molars. Bacteria that cause bad breath can be found here and can be removed by a toothbrush or a tongue scraper.
- Mouthwash: mouthwash helps kill bacteria and temporarily neutralizes bad breath.
- Clean your prosthetic: Mouthguards, dentures, partials–make sure they’re clean before use by either brushing gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste or using special cleaners available at the drugstore.
- Keep saliva flowing: try to eat healthy foods that require a lot of chewing (apples, carrots), chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies.
As always, remember to visit your dentist regularly and report any irregularities so that he or she can recommend the best course of action to take 🙂