You’ve probably been told by friends that you have bad breath. Or maybe you are conscious of your oral breath, and you are wondering what to do about it.
Bad breath is usually caused by an overgrowth of bacteria between the teeth, on the gums, or the tongue. Thus, this condition can precipitate more severe conditions, such as cavities and gum disease.
A visit to the dentist should help clarify the cause of bad breath. If an underlying health issue causes your condition, the dentist will refer you to your primary care provider. However, if the condition is a purely dental issue, then your dentist will discuss treatment and preventive methods with you.
There are generally two dental issues that might cause bad breath;
- A build-up of bacteria on or in between teeth.
Bacteria can sometimes harden and become tartar. In the event you have developed tartar, your dentist will have tools and procedures to etch it out. The dentist will likely suggest a toothpaste with an anti-bacterial agent to kill the bacteria. He/she might also recommend an anti-bacterial mouth rinse.
- Dental disease
Dental diseases can include gum diseases or cavities. Gum diseases can cause gums to pull away from the teeth and leave pockets which can fill with odor-causing bacteria. Cavities are also opportune spaces for bacteria to grow. In the case of gum diseases, a dentist might refer you to a gum specialist (periodontist). He/she might recommend filling or replacing the bad teeth. In some cases, only a professional cleaning can remove these bacteria.
On the other hand, not all cases of bad breath require professional intervention. There are home remedies and everyday practices that could help you avoid and get rid of bad smell.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- Brush your teeth after you eat.
It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day. However, if you have bad breath, you might want to brush your teeth after every meal. Make sure to use a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals.
It might be slightly inconveniencing always to have toothpaste and toothbrush at work. Instead, you can have a small bottle of mouth rinse with you. Most mouth rinses have anti-bacterial properties
- Floss once or twice a day
Brushing does not always remove all food particles. Flossing is the right way of manually removing food particles that got stuck between the teeth. Just be careful not to injure your gum with the floss.
- Clean dentures or dental appliances
If you are wearing any kind of dental appliance, bacteria can grow in the spaces between the appliance and the teeth and cause you bad breath. Clean the appliances as frequently and as thoroughly as possible.
- Adjust your diet
For some people, garlic and onions can cause a bad case of oral odor. If these foods are the culprit, cut them from your diet. Additionally, avoid excessively greasy and sugary foods, as these can cause an overgrowth of bacteria.
- Avoid dry mouth
Saliva plays a vital role in managing oral bacteria. To keep your mouth moist, drink plenty of water. Avoid tobacco, coffee, soft drinks, or alcohol, as these can lead to a drier mouth. If you have a chronic dry mouth, see a dentist or a physician.
- Brush your tongue
Your tongue harbors bacteria, so carefully brushing it may reduce odors. Invest in a tongue scraper or a toothbrush with a built-in tongue cleaner.
Other general oral health practices that might help you manage bad breath include, replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, and keep your regular dental appointments. If you are concerned about your oral health, consult with your dentist as soon as possible.
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