It's an embarrassing and common problem we all face at one time or another. Whether it's from a plate full of garlic filled food or a condition we may not be aware of, bad breath is a lurking issue that no one wants, but yet we all seem to face. It is definitely a source of embarrassment and one that some will go to great lengths to prevent. It can be 3 different kinds of gum and breath mints in your purse or bag at all times, or 5 different toothbrushes floating around backpacks, desks and glove compartments, all in an effort to scare away the beast that is bad breath. But, what is it really? How can we successfully prevent bad breath and keep it from making us overly sensitive?
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath has a medical term, it's called Halitosis, or breath halitosis, which comes from the original Latin meaning, you guessed it, bad breath! Bad breath, obviously, begins in your mouth, but what are the factors that can put it there in the first place?
- Food - Obviously we know that strong smelling foods can give us strong smelling breath. Garlic, onions, and strong spices can be smelled from your mouth but they also are digested, then they enter your bloodstream and lungs, and come out with your breath as well. Certain particles left in your mouth and around your teeth after eating can develop bacteria which can affect the way your breath smells.
- Bad dental hygiene habits - A lack of brushing your teeth and flossing everyday can cause food particles to remain in your mouth and this can cause bad breath. The tongue can also trap bacteria and this can be a cause of bad breath.
- Tobacco - Whether it's from cigarettes or other forms of tobacco use, these can cause a very unpleasant odor on your breath.
- Conditions affecting the throat, nose and mouth - infection or inflammation in the sinuses, throat or nose can cause bad breath as well as a condition in the tonsils where small stones can form that are bacteria covered, also causing bad breath.
- Dry Mouth - Xerostomia is a condition that causes saliva in the mouth to be considerably reduced and it happens mostly at night, causing what we call "morning breath." Saliva helps to naturally clean the mouth from unwanted particles, so when there is an absence of saliva, it can cause issues like bad breath.
- Infections in the mouth - Incisions or wounds from oral surgery can be a cause of bad breath as well as factors from mouth sores, tooth decay or gum disease.
- Medication - There are certain medications that have a side effect that can cause bad breath by releasing chemicals that can be smelled on your breath, and some medications can cause dry mouth that can also affect the way your breath smells.
How Can You Stop Bad Breath?
We know the causes, now what about the solutions? How can you help treat and prevent bad breath halitosis?
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss EVERYDAY, ridding your mouth of food particles
- Use a mouthwash/mouth rinse
- Brush, clean and scrape your tongue
- Continue to visit your dentist on a regular basis, your dentist may have additional solutions to help
- Drink a beneficial amount of water everyday
- Rid your body and your life of all tobacco products
- Keep healthy snacks handy that increase saliva like apples, carrots, and celery
- Keep sugarless gum and mints with you to help clean food debris from your teeth and increase saliva
Beat Bad Breath!
If you have dealt with bad breath, you are in good company! Studies have shown that a staggering 50 percent of adults in America have experienced episodes of bad breath at different times in their life. You are NOT the only one and you are NOT alone! We have walked through some causes and some ways to help you fight bad breath. As always, your doctor/dentist are the main authority voices on the best way to beat chronic bad breath. Being informed and proactive is your best defense!
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