We all experience bad breath every now and then. Usually it’s a minor inconvenience resolved with a thorough brushing. There are times, however, when bad breath becomes a recurring condition that can be a major source of embarrassment. Fortunately, mouth odor is preventable. By familiarizing yourself with the causes of bad breath, you’ll be able to take action and keep it in check.
Brushing and Flossing Habits: Proper care of your teeth and gums will go a long way toward maintaining fresh breath. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice each day with a fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to brush your tongue; bacteria can gather there as well. To remove odor-causing food particles from between your teeth, be sure to floss once per day.
Diet: The phrase “you are what you eat” is especially true when it comes to mouth odor. Researchers at New York University list strong-smelling foods such as pastrami, garlic, and onions as common culprits of bad breath. If you’re dieting, you may notice that your breath is worse between meals. Infrequent eating results in lower saliva production, which can cause bacteria buildup in the mouth. Eating meals at regular intervals can help reduce this accumulation.
Dry Mouth: The American Dental Association attributes a condition called xerostomia, better known as dry mouth, to bad breath. Dry mouth is exactly what it sounds like: a decreased amount of saliva resulting from continuous mouth breathing, salivary gland problems, or certain medications. The lack of beneficial saliva can lead to a buildup of odor-causing particles in the mouth. To combat dry mouth, be sure to stay hydrated or try sucking on a sugar-free candy.
Tobacco Use: Yet another entry on the long list of reasons to kick the habit, tobacco products can also contribute to bad breath. The experts at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center attribute tobacco use to a wide range of problems with the teeth and gums. In addition to mouth odor, potential problems include periodontal disease, loss of taste, gum irritation, and oral cancer.
Medical Conditions: Bad breath can be a warning sign or symptom of another underlying health issue. According to the Wexner Medical Center, mouth odor can indicate a respiratory infection, diabetes, a gastrointestinal disorder, or issues with the liver and kidneys. Symptoms vary from person to person, so if you suspect that your bad breath might be stemming from a larger problem, make an appointment with your doctor to address your concerns.
Additional Prevention: Scheduling regular dental checkups will help keep plaque buildup and gum disease from developing. Contact our office about any oral health issues you may be experiencing. We can provide professional recommendations tailored to your situation that will help keep your mouth as fresh and clean as it can be.