Bad Breath & Your Oral Health
No one expects to wake up in the morning with fresh breath, but what causes morning breath? Bad breath is something that most of us have dealt with. Sometimes the causes are simple and easy to remedy, other times it might require special attention or a change of habits. Regardless of the cause, bad breath can be embarrassing and a potential health concern. The medical term for bad breath is halitosis, and depending on the cause it may be an occasional occurrence or a long-lasting side effect.
What Causes Bad Breath?
One of the easiest identifiable causes of bad breath may be a result of the food you eat. Most people have had experience with full flavored foods such as garlic or tuna and the resulting unpleasant breath. Though you might have to live with breath from the tuna melt you had for lunch, do not let that be an excuse to skip brushing and flossing after every meal. Bits of the food that eat get stuck between your teeth will start to break down and decay. Without proper oral hygiene, this can result in bad breath or even worse, periodontal problems.
The bacteria that breaks down the bits of food stuck between your teeth live naturally in your mouth. They thrive in the hot, moist environment and for many people are the main cause of bad breath. Plaque, the bacteria that causes gum disease, irritates gums causing bad breath and swollen gums.
A condition is known as xerostomia or dry mouth can also result in bad breath. Dry mouth can be a result of a number of different factors; open mouth breathing, medication or salivary gland problems. This condition plays a key factor in bad breath cases because of the importance of saliva for cleansing the mouth. Not only does saliva keep the mouth moist but it also neutralizes acids produced by plaque and help rinse the mouth of dead skin cells.
Another culprit of bad breath is smoking. Tobacco irritates gum tissues, stains teeth and gives you bad breath.
Halitosis can also be caused by an illness or medications you are taking. Mouth infections and abscesses, along with sinus infections and other sinus related problems can cause bad breath. However, if those are ruled out by your dentist it may be a result of gastric reflux problems, diabetes, liver or kidney disease.
How to Treat Bad Breath
Proper Dental Hygiene
One of the first steps to keeping your breath fresh is proper dental hygiene. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time. It’s also important to floss every day in order to get the plaque that builds up between teeth. While brushing and flossing your teeth don’t forget to brush your tongue, try to brush your tongue all the way in the back where bacteria likes to live.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Though it’s true that some of the foods you eat can cause bad breath, eating teeth friendly foods will definitely help. Foods such as apples and carrots require a lot of chewing and help the mouth produce extra saliva. In turn, this helps rinse your mouth of bacteria, keeping your mouth fresh and your body strong. Another great tip is to drink plenty of water, not only does it help the mouth produce saliva, but it also washes away built up food and germs.
Eliminate Tobacco Products
Eliminating the use of tobacco products will not only save your breath, but it will improve the health of your mouth.
Visit Your Dentist
Make sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings. Not only does it help promote a healthy mouth but your dentist will also check for signs of other, more serious problems. Also, if you are concerned about bad breath you can always ask your dentist what they recommend.
One of the trickiest things about bad breath is that you may not know when your mouth has an unpleasant odor. Because the odor-detecting cells in the nose eventually get used to the smell and stop detecting it. And since you may not know you have bad breath you might as well take the steps to prevent it!