Bad breath has an established clinical term. It’s halitosis. And, for those suffering from it, the condition can cause many dental complications and be a source of embarrassment.
The Colgate-Palmolive company consolidated a few studies around halitosis. The brief review states that 1 in 4 people have bad breath, with nearly 60 million US citizens suffering from chronic halitosis.
Having stated that, it’s easy enough to see that the condition is not a minor dental issue. So, before you learn how to get rid of bad breath, you first need to understand its primary causes.
What are those causes, you ask? Well, continue reading to know more.
What can cause bad breath?
Infrequent brushing and flossing contribute to the buildup of oral bacteria, which leads to a foul odor. However, some external sources can compound the issue. Chief among them is the use of tobacco products.
Besides increasing the risk of cancer and gum infections, frequent tobacco usage stains the teeth and causes plaque and tartar buildups. That alone can cause bad breath without even factoring in general cigarette odor.
Garlic and onions are two other contributors here. Still, it’s important to note that both are nutritional powerhouses that contain essential vitamins. Moderating your consumption and following it up with a good rinse would be the ideal way to strike a balance.
Digestive problems or conditions such as pericoronitis and tonsilitis can also be causal factors for halitosis. Additionally, antihistamines (allergy medicine) can dry up saliva, which can naturally resist plaque buildup.
Consolidating everything, it’s evident that there’s no end to the things that can cause bad breath. The only way to combat it is to establish a strict oral hygiene routine and stick to it. Besides the immediate benefits, you will also develop better oral health over time.
Tips to get rid of bad breath
Outlining and maintaining a good oral hygiene plan takes a little research and a dash of consistency. Consulting a dentist will give you a more comprehensive perspective on the same. However, there are some things you can start doing on your own.
Brush and floss daily
Plaque acids are known to cause bad breath and, if not cleaned for long, can lead to cavities and gingivitis.
So, make brushing and flossing a daily habit. Ideally, you should brush twice and floss at least once a day. If you are particularly concerned about mouth odor, you can brush your teeth thrice daily. However, it’s vital to be gentle while doing it. Brushing too hard can damage your teeth in some cases.
It would also help if you change your toothbrush once every two to three months. Prolonged usage wears a toothbrush down and renders it ineffective in cleaning your mouth.
Pick the right mouthwash and rinse often
Product packaging is always a factor that influences consumer choice. When it comes to dental care, it’s critical to avoid this.
The next time you’re out buying mouthwash, look for ones with mint or zinc salts. Mint directly fights mouth odor, while zinc reduces the sulfurous compounds usually found in your breath.
Research shows that regularly rinsing with zinc-based solutions can counteract halitosis for up to 6 months.
When choosing a mouthwash, you must ensure that it advocates more than just fresh breath. The solution must also be able to eliminate oral germs. Without that, mouthwashes will only be effective for an hour or two.
Post-meal rinsing with salt and warm water can help as well. Warm salt water balances the acidity levels in your mouth and flushes away any harmful bacteria.
Drink more water and keep your mouth from drying up
A dry mouth often enables the buildup of plaque. Saliva is the natural defense against this. However, conditions such as xerostomia can reduce the functioning of your salivary glands. You must increase your daily water intake if you face such a condition.
Dentists also recommend chewing sugar-free gums as they stimulate the release of saliva in your mouth. Either way, ensure that you are well hydrated at all times.
Adopt a healthier diet
A protein-rich diet can be more challenging for your body to digest. Consequently, unmetabolized proteins release sulfurous gasses, which build up and cause recurrent instances of oral odor.
The same goes for coffee. When roasted, coffee beans produce sulfurous compounds, which can lead to halitosis. Sugar is another offender here. Harmful oral bacteria use sugar to produce particular acids that can cause bad breath.
It would be best if you adopted a more balanced diet to manage all of that better. Include more fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your meals. For instance, fresh parsley and basil can deodorize and counteract the symptoms of sulfur compounds.
Use a tongue cleaner
The tongue, specifically the back end, plays host to significant concentrations of bacteria. Regularly cleaning that area while brushing can help mitigate any foul odor.
You can also invest in a good tongue cleaner to make the process easier. Note that applying excessive force while cleaning your tongue can damage it. It’d be best to consult your dentist before opting for such an accessory.
If you get one, ensure that you are gentle while you clean your tongue.
What else do you need to know?
Multiple home remedies can help with bad breath. Some of them include:
- Chewing fresh or roasted anise and fennel seeds
- Consuming pineapple or oranges
Some homemade remedies include rinsing with baking soda or vinegar solutions. While they may be effective as a short-term method, consistent use of such solutions can damage your tooth enamel.
Before employing any DIY remedies, you must cross-reference everything with a medical expert.
Contrary to popular belief, clean teeth do not necessarily indicate good oral hygiene. Bad breath, gum infections, and tooth decay are inter-linked oral issues that you can easily avoid with a comprehensive dental care routine.
Additionally, regularly consulting a dentist will help you manage chronic oral conditions. You can then plan a more effective routine and incorporate any prescribed medication.
After all, your smile is precious to you. There’s no reason it should stop being so.