Chronic bad breath is an embarrassing problem to have. What makes it even worse is that halitosis can have a myriad of causes, which makes finding the source of the issue and resolving it that much harder. While there's no one-size-fits-all solution to banish bad breath, almost every case we see at our dental practice can be addressed by one of the remedies below.
1. Don't Let Your Mouth Get Dry
Dry mouth is one of the most common causes of bad breath. If you have allergies and breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, odds are you have halitosis. Other reasons your mouth may be dry include using a mouthwash with alcohol, taking certain medications, or simply not drinking enough water. When your mouth is dry, you don't have the natural saliva needed to sweep away bacteria and food particles that accumulate in your mouth throughout the day.
The solution to dry mouth? Carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go. If you use a mouthwash, use one formulated for dry mouth. See an ENT or allergist to resolve any issues that cause you to breathe through your mouth.
2. Floss Twice a Day
Brushing twice a day is important too, of course. But food and bacteria can accumulate in those spaces between the teeth; in the long-term, this can cause tooth decay, but in the short-term, these bits of food and bacteria can begin to emit a foul odor.
3. Avoid Trigger Foods
We're not telling you to forego garlic and onions completely. They do cause bad breath, though. If you're attending an important work meeting right after lunch, it's probably a good idea to lay off the garlicky hummus and iced coffee at lunch. Your co-workers will thank you!
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking is a cause of gum disease; that alone causes bad breath, but even without gum disease, tobacco users have that distinctive smokers' breath that no amount of gum or mints can sufficiently disguise. There are certainly better reasons to quit smoking than bad breath, but if it's self-consciousness about your breath that gets you to break the habit, you'll still reap all the other benefits.
5. Try a Tongue Scraper - Or At Least Brush Your Tongue!
When you brush and floss twice a day, are you also cleaning your tongue? You should be! That white coating on your tongue is full of odor-causing bacteria. Tongue scrapers are a great way to remove that coating from the tongue after brushing, but your toothbrush works just fine too.
6. Don't Skip Your Dental Visits
Gum disease and tooth decay are major causes of bad breath. When a patient has gum disease, bacteria colonize pockets that form between the gum tissue and teeth. This bacteria is difficult to brush away and it emits a foul odor. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are an important way to prevent gum disease or at least stop it in its earliest stages before it causes tooth and bone loss--and bad breath.
7. If All Else Fails, See Your Doctor
As we discussed earlier, sometimes resolving bad breath necessitates a visit to an ENT or allergist when mouth breathing is the cause. There are other causes of bad breath that need to be addressed by a doctor too: diabetes, gastric reflux, postnasal drip, tonsil stones, liver and kidney disease can all lead to a patient having halitosis.
Self-Conscious About Bad Breath? Make an Appointment Today
Are you worried that you have bad breath? It can be embarrassing to talk to a professional about it, but we're dentists--that's what we do! Contact us to schedule an appointment and we'll work together to figure out the root of the problem.