Almost everyone experiences bad breath once in a while. But for some people, bad breath is a chronic issue. Known in the medical field as “halitosis,” bad breath can be exacerbated by a wide variety of factors, such as poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, and smoking. Below are some ways to get rid of your bad breath for good.
If you are brushing your teeth every day, and still suspect you have bad breath, you may be brushing incorrectly. Bad breath is caused by bacteria which live in the mouth, so be sure to always brush the teeth, tongue, and roof your mouth. Don’t forget about the tops of your molars; those with sensitive teeth often unconsciously avoid brushing those areas. Brush diagonally to the teeth with circular motions, for at least 2 minutes.
Flossing is one key step that many people skip because it can be a bit tedious. However, flossing is critical to having a clean mouth and fresh breath. Don’t believe us? The next time you floss, smell the string before you throw it away, and we’ll bet you see (or smell) what we mean. If you “floss” with a Waterpik®, be aware that it is not a replacement for traditional floss. Flossing removes bacteria colonies from the teeth and gums, whilst water flossers simply rinse the areas. Ideally, patients should use both.
“Smoker’s breath” is a well-known consequence of smoking. This is because the chemicals in tobacco, such as nicotine, remain in the mouth and lungs long after a cigarette has been extinguished. Tobacco smoke can also dry out the mouth, leading to a proliferation of bad-smelling bacteria, since the slightly acidic pH of saliva helps keep bacteria under control. Alcohol, too, can dry out the mouth and permit bacteria to thrive.
If you brush and floss daily, and don’t smoke or drink, yet still suffer from halitosis, you may be suffering from dry mouth, a condition wherein the salivary glands cannot produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. To increase your salivary flow, try chewing sugar-free gum after eating, which encourages increased salivary flow, and drink plenty of water. You can also use over-the-counter moisturizing agents, such as a dry mouth spray, rinses, or dry mouth moisturizing gel.
If all these other causes have been ruled out, then the last possibility is an underlying condition. Tonsillitis, respiratory infections such as sinusitis or bronchitis, certain gastrointestinal diseases, and uncontrolled diabetes can all cause bad breath. It’s also possible that a cavity in your mouth has gone undetected, or you are experiencing some other oral issue. Be sure to see a dentist for a comprehensive exam and X-rays. Your dentist may also recommend a visit to a general practitioner, if he or she cannot detect any anomalies.
Park Cedar Dentistry is a South Charlotte family dentist office specializing in Invisalign, same-day crowns, professional tooth whitening, and a wide range of other services. To schedule a dentist appointment in South Charlotte, click here.