Bad breath is a very common issue affecting a lot of people. According to the latest research, bad breath (or halitosis), affects one in every four people.
While there can be various possible causes of bad breath, the most common cause is bad oral hygiene practice.
The good news is, halitosis is definitely curable, and below are 10 simple steps to reduce symptoms of bad breath and keep a fresh and clean mouth.
1. Avoid Foods and Drinks That Can Produce Bad Odor
One of the most common causes of sour breath is the breakdown of food debris/food particles that are stuck in your teeth and gums. This process can produce substances that can cause halitosis, that is carried in the blood to your lungs, affecting the breath.
Certain foods like spices, and especially garlic and onions are notoriously famous for causing a foul odor, and some drinks like coffee and alcohol can create an environment that can promote oral bacterial growth.
Foods and drinks that reduce saliva flow (drying your mouth in the process), can also allow bacteria causing bad breaths to linger longer.
2. Brush and Floss Regularly
We certainly can’t avoid some foods and drinks we like all the time, and this is where maintaining proper oral hygiene can help.
Plaque, the thin, sticky bacterial buildup on your teeth, is a major cause of halitosis. As mentioned above, trapped food particles also often add to the issue.
So, brush your teeth at least twice a day, and choose the right toothbrush to do the job. It is, however, important to know that we shouldn’t brush your teeth right away after eating a sugary and/or acidic foods and beverages. Doing so can increase the acidity of your mouth with can cause tooth decay and other problem. Wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before you brush your teeth.
Also, floss at least once. Be careful, however, that brushing and flossing too hard or too often can wear down your teeth’s enamel, making them more vulnerable to dental caries.
3. Don’t Forget To Clean Your Tongue
Plaque buildups don’t only occur on your teeth and gums, but also on your tongue, and this coating on your tongue can be a major cause of bad breath.
When brushing your teeth, don’t forget to gently scrape your tongue to get rid of this plaque coating. Do this carefully not to wound your tongue, and don’t forget that area on the back of your tongue.
If your toothbrush is too big to reach the back, try a tongue scraper.
4. Stop Smoking
Smoking, or other types of tobacco consumption, can cause bad breath due to two main reasons:
First, tobacco has its own unpleasant odor, so people who smoke often have their own distinct type of bad breath.
Second, tobacco can easily stain your teeth and severely damage your gums. If you smoke, your immune system might not be as optimal as it should, and so smokers are more exposed to gum disease and infections.
Gum disease and especially infection are also common sources of halitosis. So, stop smoking and start taking care of your gums more, as we’ll discuss right below.
5. Take Care of Your Healthy Gums
When your gums caught periodontitis (gum disease), the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the tooth and create a small pocket.
This small space, in turn, can collect food particles and bacteria, two common sources of bad breath, and when left untreated, can cause infections.
Take care of your gums by maintaining proper oral hygiene, and if you see signs of gum inflammation (gingivitis) or gum disease, seek professional help immediately.
6. Rinse Your Mouth
Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash can freshen our mouth with a refreshing smell and taste, and also can help kill bacteria, adding an extra layer of protection for your oral health.
However, remember that the mouthwash can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution for halitosis. Most mouthwash is alcohol-based, which can reduce saliva production (and produce bad breath instead).
So, think of mouthwash as a way to complement other oral hygiene practices. It can’t replace brushing, flossing, and a good diet, but it can enhance and prolong the results.
7. Sugar Is Your Enemy
The bacteria in your mouth that is accumulated in plaque buildup, absolutely love sugar. When these bacteria breakdown sugar, the process will produce acid, which is a major cause of bad breath and can also wear down your teeth, causing decay and ultimately, infection.
A solution for this issue is to chew sugarless gum. Your chewing activity can stimulate saliva production, the body’s natural defense protection against plaque and acids.
Again, brushing your teeth regularly and maintaining good oral hygiene practices are also a must.
8. Prevent Mouth Dryness
As mentioned several times above, mouth dryness is one of the most prominent causes of halitosis (bad breath). So, prevent mouth dryness at all costs.
Avoid any activities that can disrupt saliva production (we have discussed some above), drink a lot of water, chew (sugarless) gum or chew on sugarless candy, and so on.
Also, maintain the humidity in your house, for example by using an air conditioner or humidifier at night.
9. Maintain a Better Diet
Eat more fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. They are useful in preventing bad breath due to several reasons:
First, they are rich in vitamins and can help maintain your overall health and immune system, preventing infections. Second, they require a lot of chewing, which—as mentioned above—, can stimulate saliva production and prevent dryness.
Green tea is also a great choice since the polyphenols in green tea have been shown to have deodorizing and antimicrobial effects. So, sipping a green tea after a meal can reduce bad breath. However, remember that green tea contains caffeine, so drink it in moderation.
10. Regular Visit To Your Dentist
Maintaining good oral hygiene practice is essential, but not enough. You can’t clean every nook and cranny of your mouth, those little spaces in between your teeth and behind your gums, and this is where a professional cleaning by the dentist is necessary.
During a professional cleaning, the dentist will perform scaling, tartar removal, and other cleaning activities that are otherwise can’t be covered with regular brushing and flossing.
Visiting your dentist is also important if your bad breath continues despite all your best efforts. As mentioned, bad breath can be caused by infections and gum diseases, and they might require professional treatment.
There are certainly more ways to prevent and reduce your issues with bad breath, but the ten we have mentioned above are the most important best practices you should maintain.
Remember that if the bad breath issue persists after your best efforts, there might be underlying health issues like infections that might cause the problem. Visit your dentist at Markham Smile Centre immediately and get help.