The American Dental Association reports that at least half of all adults have suffered from bad breath at one time or another. Still, there’s a big difference between the occasional and chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis. Your self-esteem can suffer when it feels like you’re constantly fighting against halitosis.
A stick of gum or breath mint isn’t going to resolve bad breath you can’t seem to get rid of, but our team has your keys to fresh breath. Keep reading to learn more about halitosis, what you can do about it, and how we can help you deal with it!
What causes halitosis?
Halitosis, the official term for chronic, persistent bad breath, can have various causes, ranging from simple to severe. Some of the most common offenders include:
Halitosis can often result from tooth decay and gum disease. Gingivitis and periodontal disease can create cavities or pockets around the gums, giving bacteria a place to hide and multiply. This bacteria can produce foul-smelling breath, which short-term freshening methods only mask.
Several things can cause you to have a dry mouth, such as medications, smoking, and mouth breathing. When there is a lack of saliva in your mouth, bacteria won’t be rinsed out as well as they should be, which can lead to bad breath. Occasional dry mouth is normal, but bad breath could worsen if you experience it regularly.
Underlying medical issues
Viruses and illnesses, especially those that affect the sinuses, nasal passages, and throat, can sometimes result in halitosis. The American Dental Association has reported that chronic bad breath can sometimes signify certain liver and kidney diseases.
How to get a handle on halitosis
If your bad breath is a short-term problem, it only requires a short-term solution! But even long-term halitosis sufferers can often find some relief in these quick fixes:
Pop a sugar-free mint or chew sugar-free gum
Sugar-free mints won’t cure halitosis, but they’re a great tool when you need a fast way to freshen your breath! Sugar-free gum is another easy way to get rid of bad breath. Chewing gum also stimulates your salivary flow, which is helpful if the odor is due to a dry mouth. You can use mints and gum as frequently as necessary, as long as you choose a sugar-free variety. Gum and mints containing sugar can contribute to tooth decay and other dental problems, so be sure to follow our next tip.
Drink plenty of water
A persistently dry mouth causes halitosis due to a lack of saliva. Because your saliva washes away the leftover food particles that make your breath smell, an inadequate amount of it can mean those particles stay put. Drinking water is an easy way of mimicking saliva and will help rinse the debris that leads to bad breath. Keep a water bottle with you whenever possible so you can sip on water throughout the day to keep bad breath at bay.
Keep breath spray nearby
Breath sprays come in flavors like cinnamon and spearmint, and a quick burst can freshen your breath when you can’t chew gum or drink a glass of water. Like gum and mints, you should choose a sugar-free breath spray to avoid increasing your risk of tooth decay.
Use mouthwash to mask odor and kill bacteria
Antibacterial mouthwash is excellent for helping you mask bad breath while also killing the bacteria inside your mouth that contribute to it. Keep a travel-sized bottle in your purse, briefcase, or desk drawer for fresh breath anytime.
Other ways to beat bad breath
Whether your bad breath is temporary or a symptom of a bigger problem, the following tips will benefit your teeth, gums, and oral health.
Brush and floss regularly.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day, for at least two minutes. And don’t forget to floss between your teeth every night before bed to clean out all that bacteria that leads to bad breath!
Get more saliva moving.
To keep saliva flowing and rinsing your mouth naturally, eat healthy, fibrous foods such as carrots, apples, and celery. The chewing action will increase saliva production, and the fibers will act as a natural toothbrush, cleaning your teeth as you eat.
Take care of your tongue.
Bad breath bacteria love the back of your tongue because it’s an area that’s often neglected, allowing the stinky stuff to multiply. Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them all out during your morning and evening hygiene routine.
Smoking is a bad habit known for causing halitosis, or “smoker’s breath.” Smoke particles can linger in the throat and lungs for hours, giving your breath a stale scent. The chemicals in tobacco smoke also remain in the mouth, leading to a host of secondary causes of bad breath.
Tobacco can lead to chronic bad breath by drying out the tongue and gums, leaving a chemical-filmed environment where oral bacteria can run amok. Giving up smoking is good for your body in many ways. Forget better breath—you’ll have a better quality of life!
Regular dental check-ups
Making an appointment with a dentist like Dr. Gatgens or Dr. Block twice a year will allow them to determine what is and isn’t normal regarding your oral health. They can detect potential issues early to treat them before becoming more serious.
Long-term relief for halitosis with Accent Smile Center
Gum, mints, and other quick fixes are temporary solutions to occasional bad breath. If you’re dealing with true halitosis due to decay, illness, or any other reason, Accent Smile Center can do more than mask the problem.
Dr. Gatgens and Dr. Block have years of experience treating patients of all ages throughout Dickson and the surrounding areas. If you suffer from halitosis, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our Dickson office to find out the underlying cause of the problem. Once we know the issue, we can offer various treatment options to get rid of your chronic bad breath for good!