Can you smell that smell? Halitosis, or bad breath, is an issue everyone has come across at one time or another. So where does it come from? For most people, it originates from the foods they consume. The most common foods causing halitosis are onions and garlic; which, when eaten, are absorbed into the bloodstream and passed through the lungs and then exhaled.1 Luckily, this is temporary and is easily prevented by avoiding them in your diet. Although a quick fix is available for that kind of bad breath, the more persistent form can require professional intervention and treatment.
During the day, the remnants of meals eaten can build up in the mouth in places such as the teeth, tongue, and back of the throat. The bacteria in our mouth begin to have a feeding frenzy on these particles of food. It is their gaseous excretions that create the unpleasant odor, A.K.A. bad breath.1 A solution is to brush and rinse your mouth thoroughly after each meal, in addition to having regular dental check-ups. If brushing is not convenient for your specific situation, chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy can buy some time in between brushings. Doing these steps will help alleviate bad breath, but the tongue is the greatest culprit of all!
A few different products are available for tongue cleaning and newer toothbrushes have a tongue cleaner on the back side of the toothbrush head. An actual tongue cleaner is even more effective when used daily. A few gentle sweeps beginning at the base of the tongue and moving toward the tip will remove the odor causing bacteria. As always, rinse after your normal brushing and flossing routine to remove any loosened debris. Mouth rinses are a quick way to freshen your breath, but beware! It can mask underlying gum and teeth disease. Also, try to avoid rinses containing alcohol (i.e. Listerine) because they tend to dry out the mouth which encourages bacterial growth and can actually worsen bad breath. Crest Pro Health and ACT Anticavity are two rinses without alcohol that have pleasant tasting flavors.
Another cause of bad breath can come from digestive tract issues and not the mouth itself. Certain gastrointestinal conditions such as acid reflux and indigestion can cause bad breath as well and should not go unmentioned. If you are experiencing symptoms associated with any of the issues previously discussed, be sure to mention this to either your doctor or dentist. Remember to keep on schedule for regular cleanings and exams with your dentist and never be afraid to mention if you’re having consistent bad breath. It is definitely relevant to your oral health! So if you have fallen out of sync with your regular check-ups, give us a call and we’ll help to get you back on track!
1. “Oral Malodor” Journal of American Dental Association, Vol. 134, February 2003.