If you do not have it, you will be fine- in fact, most people won’t even notice. But if you do have it, everyone will notice. Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, can be the result of poor dental hygiene, lousy habits, and even a side effect of certain medications. If you are struggling with a stinky mouth, here are a few tips and tricks on how to stop bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Almost half of the world’s population has halitosis – that means that almost four billion people are suffering from bad breath on a daily basis (Bad Breath Institute)! Although most cases of bad breath originate from problems with the gums and tongue, there can be other contributing factors.
Oftentimes when people struggle with depression their Psychiatrist will prescribe them anti-depressants to help manage their symptoms. Anti-depressants can be revolutionary and give a new meaning to life for some. Unfortunately, a common side effect of many anti-depressants is Xerostomia or dry mouth (Mayo Clinic). Dry mouth happens when the oral glands stop producing a normal amount of saliva and the mouth becomes overly dry. The lack of saliva flowing through your mouth can result in leftover food particles and debris sitting on and around your teeth. In just a few hours, these particles will start to break down and rot causing your breath to smell.
Acid reflux is caused by the lower esophagus not closing all the way which allows stomach acid to bubble up your throat and into your mouth (webMD). The constant flow of acid into your mouth can leave behind an unsavory scent. Not only that, but the stomach acid also wear away your teeth’s natural protective covering, or enamel, and once tooth enamel is gone it can never be restored.
Not Regularly Brushing, Flossing
The most obvious cause of bad breath is not regularly brushing your teeth and tongue and forgetting to floss. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day (ADA). Regularly brushing and flossing will prevent decomposing food particles from stinking up your mouth and breath. And do not forget to brush your gums and tongue while you are brushing your teeth, because harmful (and smelly) bacteria can live there, too!
Long-Term Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene
The long-term effects of poor dental hygiene can include tooth decay and gum disease– both of which can cause chronic bad breath.
Periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease, should not be taken lightly. This aggressive gum infection causes damage to the gums (soft tissue), and if it goes untreated can ultimately destroy your jawbone, resulting in bad breath, loose teeth, and even lost teeth. The good news is that if you regularly brush and floss your teeth, gum disease is highly preventable.
One of the more serious tooth ailments that can cause bad breath is tooth decay – this includes any damage to the outer tooth enamel and/or damage to the dentin layer. When you do not regularly brush and floss your teeth, you are leaving food behind to sit on, and in-between, the tooth’s surface and after an extended amount of time it will begin to rot. The stinky, rotting food then mixes with saliva and forms a thin coating of plaque across your teeth and gums. Eventually, the built-up plaque creates cavities, or holes, in your teeth.
How to Stop Bad Breath
For as many ways as there are to get bad breath, there are just as many remedies:
Regular Brushing, Flossing
The easiest way to prevent foul-smelling breath is to regularly brush and floss your teeth. By brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day you are doing a good job of removing any food debris and rotting particles that may have been left from your last meal. If you are still unsure whether you are doing enough, try using dental hygiene products with Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC). CPC is an antimicrobial agent that can be found in some over-the-counter toothpaste and mouth rinses and will leave your teeth feeling slick and clean!
Regular Tongue Cleaning
Another tactic you should regularly employ is tongue cleaning. Tongue cleaning involves using a tongue scraper (or even the bristles of your toothbrush) to remove any excess particles that were left on your tongue after brushing. An immediate benefit of tongue cleaning is that it removes any rancid-smelling bacteria from your tongue, ensuring fresher breath.
Using a Chlorhexidine Mouthwash
Only after consulting your dentist, this mouthwash can assist in helping to control gum disease in addition to other necessary primary treatment. It is important to remember that this mouthwash may stain your teeth with prolonged use (over 10-14 days).
Prevent Bad Breath With Regular Check-Ups
If you want a beautiful smile and zero chance of bad breath, you must commit to proper oral hygiene habits. The sooner you make these small lifestyle changes, the sooner you will see positive results. Above all, remember that all healthy smiles (and fresh breath) include regular check-ups with your dentist!
At DeJesus Dental Group, we have carefully selected a highly trained team of dental care professionals. Our team loves what they do, and not only will they help you receive fast accurate dental care, but they will also help you feel relaxed and welcome.