Are you embarrassed by bad breath? You are not alone.
Anyone can have bad breath now and then, but about 25 percent of all people have bad breath regularly. In fact, bad breath is the third most common reason people go to the dentist, after tooth decay and gum disease.
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be embarrassing. In some cases, it can even indicate gum disease or other health conditions.
Fortunately, you can solve bad breath once and for all.
Causes of Bad Breath
Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor dental hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath because it allows odor-causing bacteria to thrive. Everyone has bacteria in their mouths. In fact, you have about >20 billion bacteria of 1000 different types in your mouth at any given time.
Bacteria in your mouth break down food particles left over from previous meals. As they break down food, the bacteria produce sulphur compounds. Brushing and flossing helps remove food particles before bacteria have a chance to break them down.
Fasting and low-carbohydrate diets can cause bad breath. These diets cause the body to break down and use fat for energy, instead of using the carbohydrates in food as fuel. As the body breaks down fat, it produces ketones, which have a strong odor.
Smoking and chewing tobacco products leave their own odor on your breath. They also reduce the flow of saliva to cause a dry mouth. Furthermore, tobacco users are more likely to develop gum disease, which can also cause halitosis.
Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach contents, such as undigested food, bile and stomach acids. These stomach contents can cause a bitter or sour taste – and odor – in your mouth.
9 Ways to Kill Bad Breath Once and For All
1. Brush and floss more often
Brushing and flossing will remove food particles and the bacteria that cause bad breath. Dr. Daily recommends brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily for optimal oral health.
2. Rinse your mouth
Rinsing your mouth flushes away the bacteria and adds moisture to your mouth. Mouthwash can kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.
3. Scrape your tongue
A mixture of odor-causing bacteria, dead cells and food debris can accumulate on your tongue to create a white film. Most of these bacteria in your mouth are “gram-negative” and “gram-positive.” Gram-positive bacteria live in plaque, which is the film on your teeth. Gram-negative bacteria, which are more odorous than gram-positive bacteria, live in the crevices of the tongue. Scraping your tongue effectively removes the bacteria.
4. Avoid certain foods
Some foods cause halitosis as they break down in your mouth. Other foods, such as garlic and onions, cause bad breath by entering your bloodstream and making their way to your lungs where they escape through your mouth. Milk and cheese causes bad breath because the bacteria on your tongue feeds on the amino acids in those dairy products, which creates a foul odor.
5. Stay hydrated and moisten your mouth
A dry mouth can cause bad breath. Staying hydrated allows your body to produce adequate amounts of saliva, which moistens your mouth, neutralizes acids produced by plaque, and rinses away dead cells that can decompose to cause bad breath. Moistening your mouth with water, mouthwash or other fluids can also help prevent dry mouth.
6. Stop using tobacco
Tobacco creates its own odors, but it also dries out the mouth. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, you may not even realize that you have bad breath.
7. Skip the after dinner mints
Bacteria in your mouth turn the sugar in mints to acids that can erode enamel and cause halitosis.
8. Keep your gums healthy
Gum disease can cause deep pockets to develop between your teeth and gums; these pockets provide extra places for bacteria to hide.
9. Consult your dentist
Your dentist can look for signs of gum disease or other dental problems that cause or contribute to bad breath. Professional cleanings can remove odor-causing plaque and tartar. Your dental health professionals at Williams and Daily can also provide other hints and tips for solving bad breath for once and for all.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.