Breath mint? Take a hint. Someone’s subtly telling you your breath stinks — time to do something about it.
Bad breath is a million dollar industry. Gum, mints, mouthwashes line the shelves with the sole purpose of flavoring your breath in hopes it smells better.
But as any dentist will tell you, these are only temporary solutions to bad breath. The root of bad breath can be due to any number of factors, the most common being poor dental care. If you suffer from bad breath, mention it the next time you come in for a dental appointment at our office in Middleburg Heights. We may be able to help!
In the meantime, here are a few reasons your breath might be stinking up the conversation. We also have tips for fresher breath — and when it’s time to see a doctor about it.
Reasons for Bad Breath
The source for bad breath usually begins in the mouth, though it can be caused by a number of reasons. Some of these include:
Food can increase the bacteria in your mouth and causes a foul odor. Certain foods such as onions, garlic and spices can cause a pungent smell. And it’s not just because the food gets stuck in your teeth. Once you digest this food, it enters your bloodstream, which carries it to your lungs and can cause your breath to smell.
Smoking or chewing tobacco will make your breath stink. Tobacco use can also lead to oral cancers, stained teeth, and gum disease, which only exacerbates the problem. If you use tobacco, perhaps it’s time to quit. It’s not only a great step to make for your health — it will do wonders for your breath.
Bad breath can also be caused by gum disease or tooth decay. Crowded teeth or poorly fitting dental appliances can also cause your breath to stink.
That’s why dentists always recommend brushing and flossing daily. This helps remove food particles that can cause bad breath and lowers your risk for cavities and gum disease, which can also cause your breath to stink. And yes, your tongue could be the source of smelly breath. That’s why we also recommend cleaning your tongue once a day with a tongue cleaner.
A lack of saliva can create dry mouth. This may be a side effect of many medications, smoking or mouth breathing. It can also be a sign of a more serious health concern. If you often suffer from dry mouth, talk to your dentist. He or she may be able to recommend a solution for both dry mouth and bad breath.
Bad breath can be caused by sinus infections, tonsillitis, respiratory issues and even diabetes. It may also be a sign of cancer. That’s why it’s important to talk to your dentist or doctor if you continually have bad breath. We need to rule out anything serious.
What Can You Do to Prevent Bad Breath?
First, practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, and use a tongue cleaner once a day. See your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Use mouthwash. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them at night and thoroughly clean them each morning.
If you smoke, quit. This is great not only for your breath but your overall health and ability to live longer and better.
Be sure to drink lots of water. This keeps your mouth moist and lowers your risk for gum disease and cavities. Water naturally cleans the teeth.
Make a habit of chewing sugarless gum. This will naturally encourage saliva production, which bathes the teeth and helps prevent bad breath. Just make sure it’s sugarless because chewing regular gum too often can lead to tooth decay.
When to See a Dentist or Doctor
If you have bad breath, try to improve your oral hygiene habits. Regularly brush and floss.
If the bad breath doesn’t go away, talk to your dentist. He or she may be able to determine if something more serious is causing your bad breath. You may be referred to a doctor for closer examination.