Every once in awhile, almost everyone deals with bad breath, or halitosis. Whether it’s caused by gum disease, dry mouth or something else, there are ways you can deal with this problem safely and effectively. Here’s some information on the causes of this embarrassing problem, and six ways to get rid of it.
The Usual Culprits
There are a few common reasons why someone develops halitosis. Causes may include …
If you feel like you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth, that could contribute to your bad breath. There are a few reasons why this happens. It could be a problem with a salivary gland or you might be taking a medication that leaves you parched. Do you breathe through your mouth while sleeping? This can cause dry mouth. It might also be a sign that you have sleep apnea, a potentially serious medical condition.1
We have a lot of good bacteria in our bodies, but we also have a lot of harmful ones. There are a lot of bacteria in the mouth, of course. When you eat, they feed on the tiny bits of food left in your mouth and your teeth after a meal. That can result in foul-smelling breath.
Just like an imbalance of bad and good bacteria in the mouth can contribute to halitosis, an imbalance in the gut can also lead to bad breath. This is a condition known as dysbiosis.2
Whether you smoke or use another tobacco product, that can lead to gum disease. But even if it doesn’t, people who smoke usually have a decreased sense of smell. You might not even realize that you have bad breath.
A buildup of plaque on the gums is one of the main causes of halitosis. If you tend to have bad breath on a regular basis, then you might have a serious case of gum disease. Get to a dentist as soon as you can for a checkup.
Most of the causes of halitosis are usually minor. But it can sometimes occur due to a problem somewhere else in the body. This even includes a potential liver or kidney issue.3 Talk to your doctor to find out if there’s something wrong.
Getting Rid of Your Bad Breath
Most cases of halitosis can be eliminated easily. Put these tips to use, and see if they clear up your problem.
1. Fight Dry Mouth
One of the best ways to keep an ample supply of saliva in your mouth is to eat food you need to chew a lot. Apples and carrots are good choices, because they give your teeth a workout. Sugar-free candy and gum will also help get the saliva flowing. It’s important to stimulate the production of saliva, because it has enzymes that help to kill harmful bacteria in the mouth.4
2. Clean Your Tongue
Even if you’re brushing your teeth and flossing every day, you still might experience bad breath. One reason could be that you’re not cleaning your tongue well. The tongue harbors traces of food as well as bacteria that can contribute to halitosis. You can’t get rid of this by brushing and flossing alone. That’s why you should always remember to clean your tongue when you brush.
If you have a loot of grooves in your tongue, you might want to consider using a tongue scraper. This device will clean the area much better than a toothbrush.Talk to your dentist to see if a tongue scraper is right for you. It’s important that you see a dentist regularly anyway, so that they can provide a deep teeth and gum cleaning. This will get rid of bacteria and plaque that might be hiding in places you can’t reach with a toothbrush.
3. Consider a Dietary Change
Research indicates that a diet high in proteins and low in carbohydrates could play a role in causing halitosis.This type of diet contributes to something called “ketosis.” This occurs when the body uses fat for fuel, because there are no carbs to burn. When this happens, ketones build up, and are released when you breathe. And you might have bad breath as a result.5
Another thing you can do for your diet is to drink more tea. According to researchers, chemical components in tea known as polyphenols can inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that contribute to halitosis.6
4. Use Mouthwash
Again, brushing and flossing your teeth every day will help keep your mouth healthy – but it might not get rid of your bad breath. Mouthwash helps kill bacteria that cause halitosis. Try to avoid products that contain alcohol, though. They may contribute to dry mouth.7
5. Stop Smoking
You need to stop smoking for many reasons, including bad breath. Tobacco use contributes to gum disease, as well as dry mouth. Both can lead to a big, bad case of halitosis.
6. Get a Physical Examination
If you take good care of your teeth and you still have halitosis, you should visit your doctor’s office and schedule a physical examination. This examination could reveal a health issue that could be the cause of your problem.
The Last Word
Your oral health is vital to your overall health. Take bad breath seriously, and not just because of the potential social consequences. You might have a health problem that’s behind your halitosis. If you try these tips and still have bad breath, get checked out by your doctor, to get to the root of the issue.