We all hate to think that we may have bad breath, and there is always the fear that someone isn't telling you when you do. Worse yet is the thought of having chronic bad breath. You don't have to suffer through this embarrassing condition with no hope of stopping and preventing it. There are both measures you can take at home and at the dentist that will prevent bad breath, or Halitosis, to keep your breath fresh. Let's take a look at how to fight Halitosis.
What Is Halitosis
Halitosis or bad breath is usually caused from a build-up of bacteria that emit noxious gases as a by-product of their life cycle. Everyone suffers from some degree of bad breath, and the most common instance is "morning breath," or the feeling after you wake up when bacteria has had all night to grow. Usually flossing, brushing your teeth and rinsing with mouthwash can take care of most of the bad breath in the morning.
However, sometimes bad breath isn't as easily dispatched, and in cases like that other factors need to be examined. Sometimes dental issues can cause bad breath like gum disease, cavities, or cracked fillings. Acid reflux and Xerostomia or dry mouth can also cause bad breath. If issues like this are ruled out, then those suffering from bad breath will want to visit their doctor to see if a medication or the onset of a disease is causing the issue. Locating the cause is an important step in eliminating future bad breath symptoms.
Care At Home
Chronic bad breath can be discouraging, but luckily there are several things you can do at home to lessen or even prevent the symptoms. If these don't work, then you'll want to visit your dentist and maybe even your primary care physician to get it checked out.
- Good Oral Hygiene - The first step to relieving bad breath is to floss 1-2 times per day, brush your teeth 2-3 times a day and rinse with a mouthwash twice a day. If you're not following these measures, then these bad habits are certainly contributing to your bad breath.
- Use a Tongue Scraper - In addition to good oral hygiene habits, a tongue scraper can dislodge bacteria and encourage fresher breath.
- Stay Hydrated - Just like Xerostomia or dry mouth, chronic dehydration can lead to bad breath. Make sure you're drinking plenty of water to keep saliva production up and reduce the chance of excess bacteria growing in your mouth.
- Avoiding Smoking and Alcohol - Both smoking and alcohol use can dry out your mouth, and as just noted above, Xerostomia can lead to bad breath.
- Encourage Breathing Through The Nose - Excessive mouth breathing, especially throughout the night, can encourage bacteria production in your mouth. Try to breath through your nose or investigate solutions that encourage nose breathing.
- Avoid Dairy - Dairy products have been shown to contribute to Halitosis. If you're having problems, it is time to cut dairy out of your diet until the bad breath is under control.
- Avoid Spicy Foods - Just like dairy, spicy foods can contribute to bad breath. Of course don't forget about those bad breath offenders like garlic and onions.
- Eat Fruits And Vegetables - Fibrous fruits and vegetables have been shown to help clean your teeth and remove bacteria.
While good oral care and behavioral / dietary changes can address most bad breath symptoms, there are times where you need to seek further care. Of course, regular checkups and visits to your dentist are the first step, and cleanings can help reduce factors that lead to Halitosis. If you're experiencing chronic dry mouth (Xerostomia), sores in your mouth, or trouble chewing or swallowing, you'll want to schedule an appointment to see your dentist. Your dentist can take X-rays and examine your gums and mouth to see if your bad breath problems are more severe. When in doubt, head to your dentist and in most cases they will be able to treat the bad breath problems. Halitosis is often easy to cure.
You don't have to suffer through bad breath unnecessarily. There are both things you can do at home and procedures your dentist can perform to help alleviate the symptoms of Halitosis. Schedule a visit to Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry today and we'll help you take care of that bad breath once and for all.