Whether it’s waking up first thing in the morning with bad breath (dreaded morning breath), after eating certain foods or just most of the time, you may have experienced bad breath. The cause of bad breath may be certain diseases such as diabetes, respiratory infections, infected tonsils, stomach conditions and others. Studies report approximately 80 percent of bad breath (halitosis) comes from the mouth.
Bad breath can result when harmful bacteria increase to a point of breaking down proteins at a higher rate than normal, causing sulfur compounds to accumulate. These volatile sulfur gases can cause bad breath. In this article, you will learn causes of bad breath and easy tips from a dentist on how to stop bad breath.
1. Learn How to Brush and Floss the Right Way
Brushing and flossing regularly is very important, but if you do not use the proper technique, you’re wasting your time. If you quickly run a toothbrush over your teeth three times a day and floss quickly without properly cleaning under the gums, germs continue to cause bad breath and even worse, gum disease. Ask your dental professional how to floss properly. But in summary, hold a small part of the floss between your fingers, and wrap the floss around each side of the tooth and gently extend it under your gums. Slow up and down movements will clean these areas that a toothbrush cannot reach. Use a clean piece of floss for each tooth.
Make sure to brush your gums as well as every side of every tooth. If you can’t brush after every meal, rinse with water or chew xylitol chewing gum. Brushing and flossing at nighttime is crucial because saliva flow slows down as you sleep, which means your mouth is more prone to attack by bacteria.
2. Which Toothpaste and Mouthwash to Use
Using effective toothpaste and mouthwash is very important. Baking soda toothpaste helps stop bad breath. The benefits of baking soda toothpaste are many. It helps remove stains, helping your teeth appear whiter. For bad breath, toothpaste with baking soda helps buffer the pH of your mouth. This is important because baking soda toothpaste can help neutralize the oral environment and not allow odor-causing germs to thrive. In the correct percentage it’s also very low abrasive. If you use it by itself, not only does it taste bad but also it can be abrasive to tooth surface.
Don’t think just because a product label says “natural toothpaste” that it’s good for you. Many contain saccharin and/ or sodium lauryl sulfate, which can actually cause dry mouth and bad breath. For the best toothpaste and mouthwash use:
- Alcohol-free mouthwash—alcohol dries the mouth and changes the pH to what germs like. This is one reason drinking alcoholic beverages is also bad for healthy, odor free mouth. Mouthwash with xylitol is excellent because it helps the flow of saliva.
- Xylitol natural toothpaste and mouthwash—studies report xylitol has many benefits for a healthy mouth when used regularly in toothpaste, and especially in chewing gum. It helps promote saliva, which is good for dry mouth. It’s also been shown to help prevent tooth decay.
3. Kiss the Tobacco Habit Goodbye
It’s not a secret that smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco or use of any other form of tobacco, can cause bad breath. Besides the potential hazards of cancer, it does increase the risk of oral infections and disease. Tobacco also dries the mouth and makes the oral environment perfect for germs to thrive.
4. Bad Breath Causing Foods
Keeping your mouth hydrated means you should drink adequate amounts of water. Saliva helps neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. With dry mouth, this protection is minimized allowing acid to cause damage by harmful bacteria. We all know about onions and garlic, but there are other less obvious foods that cause bad breath. Certain types of food tend to ferment and cause bad breath. These include red meat, high simple carbohydrate foods or sticky types of snacks. All of these tend to hang around long after you are finished eating and allow harmful bacteria to multiply. Coffee also tends to cause bad breath.
5. Eat These Types of Foods for Fresh Breath
Berries, nuts and parsley have been suggested as fresh breath foods. An apple after meals is also an excellent choice. Other crunchy basics such as carrots and celery are fiber-rich and will help halitosis. Yogurt on a daily bases has been reported to reduce odor causing compounds in the mouth. Xylitol chewing gum has been reported by the American Dental Association to help prevent tooth decay and can help with temporary relief of bad breath.
6. Clean the Germs on Your Tongue
It’s very important to clean your tongue. You can use your toothbrush or a tongue cleaner. Make it part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
7. Don’t Mask Your Bad Breath Rely with Gum, Mouthwash or Mints
If you’ve just had a meal with garlic or onions and can’t brush, then it’s okay to use a breath mint or chew gum (especially natural xylitol gum) to mask the odor. But you should not make this a habit if you have constant bad breath. The cause of bad breath can be gum disease, which may increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. Masking it is not a good idea. See your dentist to determine what the cause of your bad breath is, and get the right treatment.
8. Snoring and Mouth Breathing Cause Bad Breath
Snoring and mouth breathing dries your mouth and makes your saliva less effective. At nighttime, saliva production is naturally decreased, due to slow down of metabolism when you sleep. With this and the added drying of the mouth with mouth breathing or snoring, you will wake up with bad breath. There are snoring appliances that can help and make sure during the day you drink plenty of water. Of course, brushing and flossing in the morning is also very important.
9. Get Regular Dental Checkups
Getting regular checkups is the key to healthy, fresh mouth. In the long run it’ll save you money. Even if you think you don’t have any cavities, it’s good to see a dentist to get your mouth evaluated. Bad breath is common if you have tooth decay under a filling, crown or any stage of gum disease. It’s easier to treat these conditions early on rather than waiting.
10. Eat Healthy Snacks
The Internet is full of many great healthy snack ideas. Some include popcorn, yogurt with fruit, nuts, string cheese, and berries with non-fat whip cream. Healthy snacks are not only good for bad breath.
Author: Flora Stay, DDS