How do I stop bad breath?
Take a look at any of the shelves near a check-out or cash register. They are usually full of minty or gum products designed to disguise bad breath. The truth is, many of us find bad breath embarrassing and want to avoid it at all costs! These products, however, offer only a temporary solution, working until their flavour has run out. The best way to banish the bad breath (for good) is to maintain good oral hygiene, a healthy diet and regular trips to your dentist.
Why do I have bad breath?
Knowing just what causes bad breath is just one way to understand how to cure it.
Poor oral health is the most common cause of bad breath and leads to more serious oral health issues. When you clean your teeth, you are not only ridding your mouth of food and debris, you are also ridding it of harmful bacteria.
A build-up of harmful, sulphur-producing bacteria throughout the mouth can cause inflammation and can exude unpleasant odours, which is what others might smell on your breath. In more advanced stages, this build-up of bacteria can cause toxins to irritate your gums and lead to gum disease, known as periodontitis.
Gum disease has been linked to a number of other overall health issues throughout the body, so it is important to have checked. Some of the signs of periodontitis include receding, irritated or bleeding gums. If you recognise these and an unpleasant odour on your breath, it is important to have your mouth checked by a dentist. Gum disease in its advanced stages has been linked to other health concerns, such as heart disease and stroke.
Other causes of bad breath include smoking, acid reflux, saliva inhibiting medications and certain foods (such as garlic and onion).
How can I prevent bad breath?
Much like other health concerns, the treatment process will depend on the factors that contribute. For example, if the bad breath is caused by smoking, it might be time to consider quitting. It won’t just be your oral health that will benefit!
To state the obvious, taking excellent care with your oral hygiene habits is one of the best ways to not only prevent bad breath but also to prevent a myriad of other oral health issues. This includes brushing for long enough, using mouthwash, flossing, keeping hydrated, moderating your intake of sugars and acids and visiting your dentist regularly – approximately every six months.
Think that you do all of this and you still have bad breath? Some bad breath is unavoidable and it is important that you can recognise the difference. That unpleasant breath in the morning, or that strange smell after your anchovy pizza – probably normal. It is more a cause for concern when the bad breath seemingly has no direct cause, when you know that your mouth isn’t in the best of shape or when the bad breath persists. This is when a visit to the dentist is advised, so that they can examine your mouth, determine the root cause and advise the best treatment path.
If your bad breath is really bothering you in the meantime, quick fixes like chewing gum, lozenges and mints can help; but they are absolutely no replacement for visiting your dentist!
If you have bad breath that is caused by more than just your lunch, it might be time to book in with your dentist. Contact the friendly team at Honeysuckle Dental today!