Although we can never mistake bad breath on someone else, we don’t often know when we’re guilty of it ourselves. Bad breath can be chalked up to eating certain foods, or it could be a sign of a more serious oral health concern. If you’re not really taken with scarfing down cloves of garlic, munching onions like apples, or fasting on the latest see-no-food diet, the only way to find out why your breath is always kickin’ is to ask your dentist!
According to the ADA (see the info here: http://www.ada.org/2941.aspx), maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath. Schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors. Let your dentist know if you’ve had any surgery or illness since your last appointment.
Thanks to the ADA website, we’ve compiled the 5 most common causes for bad breath:
What we eat – What you eat affects the air you exhale. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily. Odors continue until the body eliminates the food. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.
Inadequate Brushing & Flossing – If you don’t brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor.
Dry Mouth – Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe anartificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.
Tobacco – Enough said but yes, your dentist can give you advice on kicking the habit.
Medical Disorder – Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of bad breath.
Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth.
Mouthwashes are generally cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you must constantly use a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your dentist. If you need extra help in controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend using a special antimicrobial mouth rinse. A fluoride mouth rinse, used along with brushing and flossing, can help prevent tooth decay.
See how Tommy the Greyhound has been overlooked by more than 300 new owners because of his chronic bad breath, which he developed due to an immune system problem. Good news is he’s cured thanks to a daily gargle with some special K-9 mnouthwash!