Bad Breath

bad breath

No one likes to hear it, but it’s worse not to know it: “You have bad breath.” Bad breath (also known as halitosis or malodour) can be embarrassing and tough on those around you. Some people don’t realise their breath could peel paint because people are afraid to tell them.

Fortunately, this problem is often easy to fix. What helps: Good oral hygiene, regular visits to your dentist, hygienist and ruling out any underlying conditions or other factors (such as some medications, diets, and foods) that could make your breath less than pleasant.

Do You Have Bad Breath?

Bad breath is often caused by a build up of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious odours or gases that smell like sulfur — or worse. Everybody has nasty breath at some point, like when you get out of bed in the morning.

Not sure if your breath is bad? The best way to find out is to ask a trusted friend or your significant other, “‘Does my breath smell?’ Because it’s really hard to tell on your own.

There’s another way to know. It may seem a bit gross, but look at and smell your dental floss after you use it. If your floss smells or there is blood on it, then there are foul odours in your mouth.

 What Causes Bad Breath?

There are no statistics on what percentage of the population has bad breath. That’s because studies usually rely on someone reporting whether or not they think they have bad breath and may not be accurate.

But studies show that about 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. For instance, cavities or gum disease can lead to bad breath, as can tonsils that have trapped food particles; cracked fillings, and less-than-clean dentures.

Several internal medical conditions also can cause your breath to go downhill fast. They include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, and chronic bronchitis. You’ll want to see your doctor to rule out things like acid reflux, post-nasal drip, and other causes of chronic dry mouth (xerostomia).

See Your Hygienist, Brush Your Teethhttp://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-body-care-female-teenager-brushing-teeth-image13463111

Keep your scheduled dental appointments.You really want to see your dentist, hygienist every six months or at least yearly. Good oral hygiene also is key to fighting bad breath. Ideally, you should brush and floss after every meal to help reduce the odour causing bacteria in your mouth. While a regular toothbrush works just as well if you use it as recommended. We recommend using an electric toothbrush, for two reasons.

  •  First, because many electric toothbrushes have timers on them and the majority of people do not brush their teeth for the right length of time.
  • And secondly, because electric toothbrushes distribute a uniform motion, which I find helps remove plaque more efficiently than when my patients use manual toothbrushes.

Some mouthwashes or mouth rinses can help prevent cavities and reduce bacteria-causing plaque and fight bad breath. Stick to an antiseptic or antibacterial rinse that kills bacteria, rather than a cosmetic rinse that just focuses on freshening the breath.

Watch What You Eat

What you eat affects what you exhale. That’s because as food is digested, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and then is expelled by your lungs when you breathe.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet and regular meals. Certain diets – such as extreme fasting and very low-carb diets – can give you bad-smelling breath.

Consider snacking on raw carrots, celery, or apple slices. It’s good to have a nice watery vegetable in there – something like celery – that will help clear your mouth of debris.

Avoid breath busters such as garlic, onions, and some other spicy foods. Chronic garlic users cannot only have chronic bad breath, they also often have body odour.

Six More Ways to Fix Bad Breath

  • Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odours. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Don’t drink too much coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue.
  • Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can foul your breath.
  • Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine can make your breath reek for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.
  • Chew sugar-free gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities, but it’s also cooling and gives you really nice fresh breath.
  • Be careful with breath mints. Sugar-free mints are OK for a quick fix but only mask the offensive smell and don’t do anything to remove harmful bad bacteria. Tempted to pick up a sugary mint as you leave your favourite restaurant? Don’t. The sugar will only sit on your teeth and make the problem worse.