Bad breath isn't a label any person wants to have, but one in every four people deals with this condition. Less-than-pleasant breath is common, but more importantly, it's preventable. If you suffer from bad breath, learn what steps you can take to leave the foul odors behind.
1. Schedule a Checkup
Bad breath is always the effect of an underlying cause. In some instances, the cause is brought on by an outside issue, and in other cases, an undiagnosed or unmanaged oral condition is to blame. Infections resulting from severe gum disease or tooth decay fall into this category.
An oral infection can hurt not just your oral health, but also your overall health, and must be treated by a medical provider. Chronic dry mouth caused by issues with your salivary glands may also cause an odor. Visit the dentist to ensure there aren't any pressing matters behind your concerns.
2. Floss Regularly
Whenever you eat, small tidbits of food lodge between your teeth. You can brush and even use mouthwash, but these particles will not budge. The bacteria naturally found in your teeth feed on these food particles. In the long term, this process may lead to gum disease and tooth decay, but in the short-term, foul-smelling breath will take center stage.
Ensure you're flossing your teeth at least two times each day. For convenience, try to floss when you're brushing in the morning and at night. If you struggle with flossing, consider investing in a water flosser unit to simplify the process, or ask your dentist for tips on how to properly use dental floss.
3. Brush Your Tongue
When brushing your teeth, you also need to pay attention to your tongue. There are tens of thousands of bacteria in the mouth at any given time, with many of these bacteria resting on your tongue. If you're cleaning your teeth but ignoring the tongue, these odor-causing bacteria will remain, and so will your concerns with bad breath.
To clean the tongue, gently run the scrapper from the back of the tongue to the front, as if you were sloughing the bacteria away. You want to press firmly when performing this step, but not to the point that it is painful. Pressing too firmly may injure your tongue.
4. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help minimize odors inside your mouth. Typically, the scent you smell is the result of a combination of the food particles and bacteria inside your mouth. When the mouth is dry, the particles fester, and their scents radiate. Drinking water helps because it washes these elements away.
Keep a reusable bottle at your desk that you can fill with water to stay hydrated throughout the day. Medications used to treat allergies and hypertension are known to cause dry mouth, so you want to be even more diligent about drinking water throughout the day if you take these types of medication.
5. Stay Tobacco-Free
If you're already tobacco-free, you're off to an excellent start. If you're not, now is the time for cessation. When you smoke a cigarette, the process leaves smoke particles in your lungs and throat. Each time you take a breath, the scent of the smoke will radiate from your mouth for hours.
So if you're smoking several cigarettes throughout the day, the smell will remain. Tobacco use can also cause dry mouth, which also leads to odors. If you're struggling to stop using tobacco, speak with your provider about cessation aids that can help you along your journey.
At Moana Dental Care, we're concerned about your oral health. If you're worried about bad breath, don't hesitate to visit us.