Whether you call it halitosis, bromopnea—or just plain bad breath—it’s a problem that nobody really wants to experience. Bad breath can sometimes be a sign of more serious issues, and it occasionally has a cause that’s not related to the mouth…but most of the time it comes from an oral source, and is amenable to treatment. Breath mints and mouthwashes can temporarily mask the odor, but they don’t get to the cause of the problem. So what can you do if even your dog turns away when you pucker up? Here are five tips that can help you control bad breath.
Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene
Oral bacteria—and there are millions of them in most people’s mouths—are a major source of foul odors. Some of these bacteria are also responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to reduce the levels of harmful oral bacteria. That means brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist regularly for exams and professional cleanings. A dental exam can also rule out other potential causes of bad breath… so you can concentrate on keeping those bad bacteria under control.
Watch What Your Eat (And Drink)
Heard those stories about garlic breath and onion odor? They’re all true. Not only do the aromas of some foods persist in the mouth, but they can also come back when the odiferous substances are digested, passed into the blood stream, and exhaled through the lungs. And it’s not just foods: Coffee and alcohol are beverages known to cause a malodorous mouth. But fasting isn’t the answer either—in fact, not eating for a long time causes another set of smelly chemical substances to be released. If you want to alleviate bad breath, consider snacking on fresh, healthy foods that contain plenty of water—like celery, parsley or apples.
Wonder why people have “morning breath?” It’s because of reduced salivary flow and mouth dryness in the early hours. Saliva fights bad breath naturally by keeping oral bacteria under control, and by washing away food debris. You can help saliva do its job by drinking plenty of water during the day. Sometimes, chronic dry mouth can be caused by medications or other health issues. If that’s the case, your dentist may recommend chewing xylitol gum or using a saliva substitute.
This is a no-brainer: If you have smoker’s breath… stop smoking. Your friends and loved ones will thank you—but you’ll be doing the biggest favor to your own health.
Get a Dental Checkup
You may not realize you have gum disease or tooth decay—but either of those common maladies could be the source of bad breath. Sometimes, a strong smell may signal the presence of another dental problem, like an old filling that’s breaking down, or an abscess that’s starting to form; it can also indicate a different type of infection or disease. If a foul odor develops suddenly, see your dentist right away—especially if you have any other symptoms. But even if bad breath is a persistent problem, in many cases a dentist can help pinpoint the cause and help you find the best way to control it. Call us at 1-800-238-5163 to find out about how dental savings plans can help make quality dental care affordable.