It is something we all worry about. Did I brush my teeth this morning? Is that sandwich I had for lunch going to linger during my next meeting? We are always worried if our breath smells bad. It’s no wonder there are so many mint flavored products readily available every time we check out at a store or mints are handed out at a restaurants.
So why do we experience bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis? There are many different reasons and each person is different. Below are some of the most common culprits of bad breath.
Food-particles remain in the mouth after eating, these particles promote the growth of bacteria between teeth, the gums, and on the tongue.
Smoking/chewing tobacco-substances and chemicals in these products not only cause bad breath they stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste and irritate the gums.
Gum disease-Periodontal disease is the build of plaque along the gumline and teeth. Poorly fitting dental appliances-dentures, retainers, etc.
Yeast infections inside the mouth.
Cavities- it’s a no brainer that tooth decay would have an unpleasant smell!
Dry Mouth- saliva neutralizes acids and rinses away food particles (yes the ones that promote bacterial growth). Medications- certain medications can cause bad breath, make sure to check the side effect list.
Tonsillotliths (tonsil stones)- debris can get trapped in the tonsil and hardern, creating tonsil stones that are covered in bacteria that produce an unpleasant odor.
Disease- health complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, post nasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, liver and kidney problems can also cause bad breath.
Preventing bad breath
Ok, so there are many causes of bad breath that you can control but it’s not like you can stop eating. Here are some tips to keep the bad breath at bay.
Brush your teeth a minimum of two times a day. For added protection brush directly after each meal. Make sure to give you tongue attention!
Floss twice a day.
Use antibacterial mouthwash, but don’t overuse! Using mouthwash too much can irritate the tissues in your mouth.
If you have dental appliances such as dentures or retainers make sure they are thoroughly cleaned each day. Quit smoking or chewing tobacco, you know you’ve been thinking about it anyways.
Drink a lot of water. Water keeps your mouth moist and rinses food particles away from your teeth.
Chew sugarless gum. Key word sugarless! Gum promotes the production of saliva and usually comes in a different kinds of mint flavors.
If you are still experiencing issues with bad breath make sure to consult your dentist.