Bacteria, coffee, strong-smelling foods, dehydration… there are a lot of causes of bad breath, or “halitosis”. What can you do about it? That could depend on what is causing it. Read on for details,
The primary offender is bacteria, and they are at their worst when your oral hygiene is at its worst, or when a long time has gone by without brushing (such as while sleeping at night). Excellent oral hygiene is the best defense against this formidable foe. Brushing and flossing physically lifts and removes both bacteria and the tiny food particles they use to fuel their odor, effectively evicting them from their uninvited residence in your mouth. The minty scent of most toothpastes is an added bonus, but the evicting the culprits with a diligent and trough hygiene routine is solution number uno of this breath problem.
Speaking of bacteria as a cause of bad breath- when was the last time you cleaned your tongue? Bacteria builds up on the tongue, especially at the back of the tongue. You can brush your tongue to help remove it, but the best weapon is a tongue scarper, which is an effective tool that reaches the back of the tongue more easily. Consider it another thing that you should be doing daily as part of your normal oral hygiene routine!
Another cause of bad breath is the lingering scent of strongly-odored foods that taint your breath after they are consumed. Garlic, onions, and coffee are notorious for making a mark on your breath! A good bush and floss will help, but of these three, coffee is only one that can you can easily be rid off. Garlic and onion have odor compounds that enter your circulation through your digestive system and infiltrate your breath through your blood stream. They are most potent in their raw form, so cooking them is one way to reduce the damage they may have on the air you exhale. Time is the only way to thoroughly get rid of garlic and onion breath, as your body will digest and break down the cause of the smell. Try a nice strong mouthwash, sugar-free gum or extra-strong sugar-free mints to help mask the odor, repeating as needed. There are some old wives tales about ingesting parley and lemon juice, too. Lemon juice is hard on your teeth so you may want to reach for mints or parsley first, and if you try lemon, drink it through a straw to keep off your teeth.
Dehydration can cause very noticeable bad breath, but many people do not realize this. Drinking plenty of water and preventing dehydration is going to help most with this one, but brushing, flossing, and making use of a antiseptic mouthwash can help. For the most part, the odor is caused by those previously mentioned bacteria. When you get dehydrated, the body has trouble producing sufficient saliva to help keep those bacteria in check. Proper hydration helps your body maintain balance in the mouth (not to mention every other system), so drink up that water!
Well, that’s the basics of bad breath. Please let us know if Dr. Vancil and the Mall of Georgia Dentistry staff can help you with any other questions about how to keep the funk and foul out of your breath. Great dental maintenance, including regular cleanings and check-ups in addition to your daily floss-and-brush routine, is the foundation of fresh breath!