How to beat bad breath

Halitosis is awful. What’s even worse? You may not realize you have it.

Halitosis is bad breath or an unattractive odor that emanates from the mouth. While bad breath can be common after eating onions or garlic, real halitosis is persistent even after brushing and rinsing with mouthwash.

What’s the Cause of Bad Breath?

It’s not really the cavities or eating stinky food or even gum disease that’s the real culprit of halitosis. The real problem is bacteria – and your mouth is full of it. Tobacco, coffee, and sweets all exacerbate bacteria growth in the mouth. People with postnasal drip and diabetics frequently struggle with halitosis. If you’re sick, your mouth will smell worse. Even if you’re on certain medications, it may change your breath.

Interestingly, if you’re on a low-carb diet of proteins and greens, your breath will smell different. That’s because your body produces ketones, which occurs when it starts burning fat for fuel. If you’re planning on following the South Beach diet as your New Year’s resolution, be warned!

The good news is that this is a treatable problem.

Taming Bad Breath

The first natural barrier to bad breath is saliva. Having an overly dry mouth means the bacteria are not being washed away by saliva. Dry mouth is a condition that could be caused by everything from allergy medications to illness. Water is the solution. The more hydrated you are, the better your breath will smell.

It may be tempting to pop a sugary mint. Try sugar-free gum instead because the bacteria in your mouth actually feed on sugar. Skip the sugar and starve the germs causing halitosis.

This one may come as a surprise — try some green tea. There are naturally-occurring anti-microbial agents in green team. It will help eliminate bad breath.

Always practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing once, and rinsing with a strong mouthwash. Pay attention to your tongue when you brush, as well. You can also use tongue scrapers to physically remove some of the bacteria from the tongues. Always follow this up with mouthwash; that one last swish with a rinse will help wash away bacteria. Mouthwashes like Listerine have even been shown to kill oral bacteria – the bugs that cause your bad breath.

If these steps don’t help eliminate the problem, it’s time to speak with your dentist. Bad breath can be a signal of a number of health issues, from a cracked filling to an ulcer. Having an exam and a confidential discussion with your dentist is the next step in your process of eliminating bad breath. 

Braces and Bad Breath

 If you have braces, you’re going to have a more difficult time eliminating the bacteria clinging to the hardware in your mouth. Unless you have Invisalign braces, where you can actually remove the trays to clean your teeth, you may struggle to keep your teeth clean. If you have braces and notice bad breath, give us a call. We can share some tips on providing additional oral care that will help eliminate the problem.

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