Halitosis is an oral condition that can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons. Depending on the cause there are things you and your dentist can do to improve your breath. Read on to find out why your breath might smell and what you can do about it!
Common Causes of Halitosis
Improper Cleaning: Brushing and flossing every day is the cornerstone to oral health. If teeth aren’t cleaned daily bacteria will flourish from food particles left behind after every meal. Brushing and flossing removes bacterial plaque that accumulates quickly, trapping bacteria and causing unpleasant odors.
Dry Mouth: Saliva cleans the mouth in between brushing, so if saliva production is down you are susceptible to “dry mouth.” Dry mouth is a medical condition that results in bad breath. Dry mouth happens every time you sleep which is why you wake up with “morning breath.” Dry mouth can also be caused by taking certain medications, heavy alcohol consumption, using tobacco and poor hydration in general.
Dietary Choices: When food is chewed and broken down, bacteria increases, which contributes to breath odor. Additionally, regularly eating pungent food like spices, onions, or garlic, can all make your breath worse. Even digesting these foods can make your breath smell, since it enters your bloodstream after chewing and travels to your lungs where it can make your breath smell (like garlic, onions, etc). Drinking too much coffee will also leave a strong residue on the back of your tongue where bacteria accumulates. Diets that affect the metabolism like extreme fasting and extra-low carb diets can also negatively impact breath.
Medical Conditions: Everything from sores in the mouth, tooth decay, gum disease, and tonsil stones can make your breath stinky. Frequent sinus infections, chronic post nasal drip, cancer and metabolic disorders like acid reflux are common reasons for halitosis.
Smoking Tobacco: Smoking tobacco whether it be via cigarette, cigar, or pipe leaves a strong, unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth. This smell can also be aggravated by the addition of gum disease which is common among habitual smokers and also contributes to persistent bad breath.
8 Steps to Stop Halitosis in Its Tracks
Step 1: Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and clean your tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper to remove bacteria.
Step 2: Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash to lower bacteria.
Step 3: Limit your consumption of alcohol and enlist the help of a smoking cessation program if you want to stop smoking.
Step 4: Snack on raw apple slices, celery, or carrots to clear oral debris in between brushing.
Step 5: Avoid garlic and onions and heavy spices as much as possible to eliminate odors.
Step 6: Drink plenty of water and avoid diuretics to increase saliva production.
Step 7: Chew sugarless gum in between meals to stimulate saliva production and make your breath smell fresh.
Step 8: See your dentist every six months to remove calculus off your pearly whites as well as rule out gum disease.
If you have any questions or would like to be seen by Dr. Eric Goldberg, please call our dental team at 610-363-6181 today!