How to Handle Bad Breath

Bad breath can be a major problem in the lives of those who suffer from it. Not only is it embarrassing, believe it or not, bad breath can actually ruin relationships. Most people don’t want to come out and tell their friends or family that they have bad breath, instead they choose to avoid them because they just can’t handle the smell of being around them! So what causes bad breath and how can you prevent it from affecting your lifestyle?

Common Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath is generally the results of a buildup of bacteria that causes inflammation in the mouth and gives off an odor or gas that smells like sulfur, or sometimes worse. Eighty percent of bad breath comes from an oral source, meaning it is actually related to something going on inside a person’s mouth. The other twenty percent comes from some sort of underlying medical condition. The most common oral sources for bad breath are: cavities or gum disease, cracked fillings, improper denture hygiene, and not brushing and flossing regularly. What many people do not know is that bad breath can actually come from a source outside the mouth if you are battling certain health conditions. Diabetes, liver disease, acid reflux, chronic dry mouth, post nasal drip, and other stomach issues can be the underlying source of a person’s bad breath.

Tips to Kick Bad Breath

None of us want to be that person that no one wants to be around because they can’t handle our bad breath. Following these tips can help to reduce or eliminate bad breath when it comes from an oral source.

  • Brush or floss more often. If you have noticed that you have bad breath, try increasing the amount of times you brush and floss each day. Plaque buildup can cause bacteria and food particles can get trapped in cracks and crevices throughout your mouth causing a rotten smell. Be careful not to brush too hard. This can break down your gums and leave you at a higher risk for tooth decay.
  • Rinse as often as possible. Using a mouthwash does not just leave your breath smelling clean for the moment, it gives your mouth extra protection against harmful bacteria. Choose a mouth rinse that kills germs. Additionally, rinsing with plain water after each meal can break up or loosen food particles that would normally be stuck in your teeth all day.
  • Scrape your tongue. Your tongue can be the host of a lot of harmful bacteria. Brushing your tongue helps to eliminate some bacteria, but using a tongue scraper can actually eliminate dead cells, bacteria, and food debris that your tooth brush can’t get.
  • Avoid foods that make your breath smell sour. Everyone knows that onions and garlic leave our breath smelling bad long after we brush our teeth. This is because these foods actually have an effect on our stomach. The best way to reduce the smell of these foods is to avoid them all together.
  • Stop smoking. Not only is smoking bad for your health, it does a number on your oral hygiene as well.
  • Choose gum instead of mints. While mints help to freshen our breath quickly, the sugar in most minds produces more acid that leaves our breath smelling bad later in the day. Choose a sugarless gum. Chewing gum produces more saliva in our mouth which is a natural defense against plaque acids.
  • Keep up on your gum health. Bacteria can breed in pockets around the base of your teeth causing not only a rotting smell but increasing your chance of tooth decay and gum disease. If you have continued issues with your gums, consider consulting with a periodontist who specializes in gum health.
  • Keep your mouth moist. A moist mouth sees an increase in saliva production which we already established is a natural defense against plaque buildup. Increase your water intake, chew sugarless gum, and use a humidifier to increase the moisture in your house at night.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If following all these steps doesn’t seem to help in reducing your bad breath, it is important that you see a doctor. While we noted that eighty percent of bad breath is caused from oral sources, twenty percent is left to medical conditions. Unfortunately, if following these steps has not eliminated or greatly reduced your bad breath, it is likely that the source is an underlying medical condition that most likely needs attention.

Don’t let bad breath take ahold on your life any longer. Kicking it to the curb is easier than you thought!