Bad breath is also called halitosis. It can be an embarrassing problem, so some people don’t want to talk about it. Bad breath can be caused by many different things including:
- Some foods
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Bacteria on the tongue
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Using tobacco products
- Sinus or respiratory infections
- Some medical conditions
- Some medications
- Poor oral hygiene
- Improperly cleaned dentures.
Some tips for preventing bad breath are:
- Keep current with your regular dental cleanings, x-rays, and exam
- Brush at least twice daily and be sure to brush your tongue too. For best results, brush after all meals and try to avoid between meal snacking because the food you eat also feeds the bacteria that live in your mouth and create bad breath. Use floss or a waterpik to remove bacteria from between your teeth at least once a day. There are other interdental cleaners available, and we can talk to you about which options are best for your mouth.
- If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly.
- Don’t use tobacco products. There are great, free tobacco cessation resources available at smokefree.gov
- Try to not cover up bad breath by constantly using breath mints or other candies with sugar. They only temporarily hide the problem and can lead to tooth decay, which can make bad breath worse.
- Don’t rely on mouthwash to solve the problem. Although antibacterial mouthwash may help to some degree, it is important to keep in mind that mouthwash alone is not a cure for bad breath. Additionally, mouthwashes often contain alcohol, which can dry out your mouth and make bad breath worse.
- Take note of any medications you are taking that may be causing dry mouth. We can offer tips and products to help you combat dry mouth.
- Look for oral hygiene products (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc.) that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These are products that have been proven to be effective and safe, according to the American Dental Association.
If you are battling bad breath and trying to cover it up, talk to us about it so we can offer you options to solve the problem, rather than hide it.
Anna Goodenough, RDHDr. Amanda Delwiche, DDS