Bad breath is embarrassing, socially impairing, and unpleasant. Over 90 million people suffer from halitosis. There are ways to deal with this common but stinky problem. The market is flooded with miracle cures, herbal and folkloric remedies, miracle mouthwashes and the like. It is hard for the average consumer to know what’s what in today’s consumer driven society. Here are some ways to get to the bottom of the dental deluge:
Brushing your tongue is almost as important as brushing your teeth. Bad breath often strikes when people aren’t properly taking care of their oral health. The odor is usually caused by decaying food particles and bacteria in your mouth. That’s why brushing and flossing your teeth is so important, but don’t forget to gently brush your tongue to get rid of even more bacteria. Your tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria so keeping it clean will make your breath stay fresher longer.
Saliva is a great odor eliminator. That’s why dry mouth, often caused by certain medications or medical conditions, leads to odor problems. By washing away food particles and bacteria, saliva helps to eliminate odor, too. Your breath is worse in the morning because your saliva production has slowed down or halted and bacteria have had a chance to linger and produce more odor. Chewing sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production and help rinse out your mouth. Mints only help to mask odor whereas chewing gum will mechanically wash out your mouth. Saliva also has enzymes and antiseptic properties that help keep your mouth clean.
A sugarless cinnamon flavored gum is best to chew as it has an ingredient that appears to decrease the bacteria production in your mouth.
Drink more water. The older you get the more likely you are to get dehydrated. You might not even notice you’re thirsty so make drinking water a habit, because water will help keep the bacteria in your mouth to a minimum. Drinking water has a lot of health benefits, and preventing bad breath is one of them.
Most bad breath can be handled with simple hygienic procedures but, if after taking the normal precautions you still have a case of halitosis, you may need to check in with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to pinpoint any cavities or decay, or even periodontal (gum) disease, that might be causing your bad breath. Because on rare occasions bad breath can signal a larger problem, including infection, and even kidney or liver failure, you should also visit a doctor if your dentist doesn’t find a cause for your bad breath problem.
A slice of bread may be the remedy that works wonders. If you’re on one of the many popular low-carb diets, remember that bad breath or “ketone breath” is a potential side effect when you always have that burger sans bun. You can try different methods of masking the odor, such as gum or tart candies, but adding a few carbs to your daily diet might also do the trick.
A water pik can find rotting food or particles that a toothbrush can’t reach. You can’t really clean your entire mouth with a toothbrush. Using an irrigator or water pick cleans everything out around and under your gums and between your teeth. If food lingers between your teeth where a toothbrush doesn’t reach, it’s fermenting. Next time you floss, take a whiff of your floss after you’re done, and you’ll have a good idea about what fermented or rotten food particles smell like.
Munch on parsley. That green sprig of parsley that came with your meal can do more than decorate your plate. While muching on parsley or spearmint won’t cure bad breath, the scent of the herb itself can help temporarily cover up offending oral odor. You’re basically trading an offensive odor for a more scceptable one.
Eat to smell sweet. Foods that help fight plague may also help fight mouth odor. Opt for celery, carrots, peanuts or a bit of low-fat cheese if you want something to snack on. A healthy diet will help your teeth as well.
Some people think their breath is worse than it actually is. It is always a good idea to have your teeth and dental health checked by a professional.