We’ve all done it: first, we check to make sure no one is looking; after we’ve determined that we’re in the clear, we casually cup our hand and bring it up to our mouths; finally, we attempt to forcefully exhale through our mouths while simultaneously trying to inhale through our noses – all to make sure we don’t have bad breath. There are many causes of bad breath (beyond that chili cheese dog you had for lunch), and your friendly team at Family Dental Choice wants to make sure you know what they are and what you can do about them.
Cause #1 – Food
This one is short and sweet; you know that garlic, onions, and heavily seasoned things are going to give you bad breath. Even after you brush your teeth, the food breaks down in your stomach and emits a smell when you exhale through your mouth. We’re not trying to stand between you and your pesto, though. Our recommendation is that you enjoy these foods when you know you’re not going to be face-to-face with someone who doesn’t share your affinity for garlic.
Cause #2 – Poor Dental Hygiene
This is our time to shine! When you eat, food particles get left behind on your teeth and tongue. If you don’t brush, these particles turn to a sticky bacteria (plaque) that can irritate your gums and eventually cause gum disease. The bacteria that is trapped beneath your gums and between your teeth can cause a foul odor. The solution is simple: brush your teeth at least twice a day (preferably after every meal), floss daily, and see your dentist at least twice a year. You might also want to pay special attention to the back of your tongue when you brush; it provides the perfect environment for food particles and bacteria.
Cause #3 – Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can be caused by any number of things, among them age and certain medications. In fact, dry mouth is exactly what causes “morning breath,” as saliva production naturally slows during sleep. Saliva functions as nature’s mouth cleaner, helping microscopic food particles become dislodged. Without it, plaque is more likely to build up on your teeth, which can cause bad breath (see above). You can help by staying hydrated and chewing sugarless gum to help increase saliva production. You should also mention dry mouth to your dentist, as it could be a symptom of another health condition.
If you feel like you don’t fall under any of the above categories, yet still suffer from bad breath, contact Family Dental Choice to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hahn. He and his team will work with you to make sure your breath is fresh and your teeth are sparkling clean.