Bad breath, also called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits, and be made worse by the types of foods you eat, and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. It can be embarrassing and in some cases may even cause anxiety. It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes, and other products designed to fight bad breath. But many of these products are only temporary measures because they don’t address the cause of the problem.
Bad breath odors vary, depending on the source or the underlying cause. Some people worry too much about their breath even though they have little or no mouth odor, while others have bad breath and don’t know it. Because it’s difficult to assess how your own breath smells, ask a close friend or relative to confirm your bad-breath questions.
How Can Food Cause Bad Breath?
The food you eat begins to break down in your mouth and is absorbed into your bloodstream and move to the lungs, affecting the air you exhale. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing — even mouthwash — merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body. Other common foods that can cause bad breath include:
- Peanut Butter
- Citrus Fruits
- Certain spices
- Orange juice or soda
- Alcohol etc.
Surprisingly, being hungry can also contribute to the development of bad breath, as not eating for long periods can reduce the amount of saliva your mouth produces. This can lead to dry mouth. When your mouth becomes dry, bacteria that contribute to causing unpleasant smells have an easier time multiplying. Being hungry also causes changes in the bacteria and enzymes your mouth produces, which can occasionally cause weird smells to develop.
Treatments To Getting Rid Of Bad Breath
To reduce bad breath, help avoid cavities and lower your risk of gum disease, consistently practice good oral hygiene. Further treatment for bad breath can vary, depending on the cause. If your bad breath is thought to be caused by an underlying health condition, your dentist will likely refer you to your primary care provider. Also, for causes related to oral health, your dentist will work with you to help you better control that condition. Dental measures may include:
Mouth rinses and toothpaste. If your bad breath is due to a buildup of bacteria (plaque) on your teeth, your dentist may recommend a mouth rinse that kills the bacteria. Your dentist may also recommend a toothpaste that contains an antibacterial agent to kill the bacteria that cause plaque buildup.
Scrape your tongue. The coating that normally forms on your tongue can be a host for smelly bacteria. To get rid of them, gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush. If your brush is too big to comfortably reach the back of your tongue, try a scraper. It will apply even pressure across the surface of the tongue area. This removes bacteria, food debris, and dead cells.
Moisten your mouth. You can get tooth decay and bad breath if you don’t make enough saliva. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day. Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy. Also, try a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your house.
Treatment of dental disease. If you have gum disease, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist). Gum disease can cause gums to pull away from your teeth, leaving deep pockets that fill with odor-causing bacteria. Sometimes only professional cleaning removes these bacteria. Your dentist might also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations, a breeding ground for bacteria.
See your doctor. If your bad breath continues despite your best efforts, make an appointment with your doctor. They’ll check to see if your problems are related to a medical condition.
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