It’s time to talk about a subject that no one really likes to address: bad breath, also known as halitosis. We’ve all been there: the moment when you do the breath test and realize you should have popped in a mint, or did an extra brushing before heading out. So, what causes bad breath and what can we do to prevent that unfortunate moment from happening?

Bad breath happens. Halitosis is incredibly common. According to the American Dental Association, studies have shown that 50% of adults have had bad breath at some point in their lives. Read on for reasons, tips and tricks to help you avoid being in that 50%, if you haven’t already.

What causes bad breath?

Bacteria live in the mouth. Inside the mouth it is hot and moist. This is the perfect place for bacteria to grow and thrive. Bad breath is fairly normal, but some cases of unpleasant odor can last a longer period of time. If the odor is not going away, then there is, or could be, a serious underlying issue.

When bacteria grows, it produces odor. Things that can cause bad breath include poor dental hygiene, infection, illness, gum disease, smoking and other medical conditions.

If you have foul smelling breath and other symptoms like a toothache, visit your dentist right away. There is a chance that you could have an abscessed tooth. An abscess is never fun to experience. It’s important to have an abscess addressed as soon as possible. Letting it go for too long can cause more serious problems in the future.

What can you do about bad breath?

  • Practice proper dental hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush twice a day and clean with floss between your teeth daily. It’s also a great idea to use a mouthwash to help kill bacteria. This can temporarily help bad breath and wash away food in the mouth. Food can cause bad breath.
  • Don’t ignore the tongue. Bacteria love the tongue, particularly the back of it. If you are having bad breath, consider brushing your teeth longer with a soft toothbrush, or toothbrush recommended by your dentist. Also, remember to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Finish with a fluoride-based mouthwash.
  • Visit the dentist regularly. A dentist will be able to identify any issues, problems or symptoms that might occur. Sometimes the alignment or crowding of the teeth can cause an abscess. A dentist will be able to identify these things and give you options, like braces.
  • Straighten your teeth. Crowded teeth are harder to clean. Have you ever noticed that getting in between crowded teeth can pose an issue? Brushing normally doesn’t necessarily do the trick. Proper alignment of the teeth could help immensely.
  • Clean dentures and retainers regularly. Anything that goes inside of the mouth and stays there for a while should be properly cleaned each day. Clean them thoroughly before inserting them in your mouth. This might sound obvious, but it happens.
  • You are what you eat. Remember that certain foods and drinks can cause bad breath. That’s why they say to brush your teeth after eating and not before. The sooner you get the food out from in between your teeth, the better.

Don’t let bad breath affect you! Understanding what causes bad breath and what you can do to keep it away is the first step to never having to deal with this stinky situation. If you have any questions, feel free to call us or your dentist.