Bad breath can be embarrassing, no doubt. In most cases, it can affect an individual’s self-esteem, which can even cause anxiety. Bad breath, medically called halitosis, which affects more than 50 percent of the adult population, is a common dental condition characteristic of poor dental hygiene.
But when it comes to problems that occur as a result of poor oral hygiene, bad breath is only the tip of the iceberg. Hence you need to get rid of it.
Bad breath is usually a result of bacteria action on food particles. When sustained, different dental health problems occur, of which bad breath is one of the most noticeable. If you’re concerned about bad breath, let’s look at some of the causes and how you can get rid of bad breath.
Overview of bad breath
Bad breath occurs when mouth bacteria break down food particles to release sulfur-containing compounds that result in mouth odors. On a broad basis, bad breath occurs as a result of physiological stress categorized into intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Extrinsic factors relate to certain types of spicy or odorous foods that cause bad breath. Some of these foods include garlic, onions, tuna, and many more. Intrinsic factors relate more to oral hygiene when odor-causing bacteria act on food substances to produce volatile sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan, producing the characteristic foul smell.
Bad breath may be a sign of more serious dental issues, but the good news is that it is both preventable and treatable.
Causes of bad breath
Bad breath occurs as a result of one or more of the following causes:
A dry mouth is a major contributor to bad breath. When you have a dry mouth, saliva production is decreased. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth by washing away food particles and preventing mouth bacteria from acting on the food particles.
Without saliva, bacteria act on these food particles to form plaques. When bacterial action on food particles becomes sustained enough, bad breath develops. If you have a dry mouth, now is the time to treat it to prevent bad breath.
Some types of food such as garlic, onions, tuna, and lots more naturally cause bad breath. Also, some food types create a conducive environment for mouth bacteria to thrive. For instance, coffee and alcohol, apart from having the potential to cause stains on the surface of the teeth, also create a favorable environment for mouth bacteria to thrive.
They do this by limiting saliva flow and causing dry mouth, which is favorable for bacteria growth. The action of bacteria on food particles leads to dry mouth. Certain types of food such as cheese, apples, leafy greens, and carrots are healthy for your teeth and promote saliva production.
Bad breath is one of the early warning signs of gum disease. This occurs as a result of bacteria growth below the gum line leading to what is called sug-gingival dental plaque. If not removed, it leads to bad breath.
Smoking and tobacco
Smoking dries out your saliva, which leads to a dry mouth. Additionally, smoking is one of the leading causes of gum disease because it disrupts the normal functioning of gum tissue cells leading to periodontal disease and attending breath odors.
Similarly, tobacco products, whether smokeless or not, are not healthy for your teeth and can lead to bad breath.
When sulfur-producing bacteria form colonies with food particles, they break down food particles to release sulfur compounds which lead to bad breath. It is advisable to brush immediately after eating to reduce bacteria action on food particles.
How to get rid of bad breath
Bad breath is a serious dental health concern. But the good news is that it can be prevented and eliminated. Here are simple yet effective ways to get rid of bad breath.
Brush and floss
Brushing and flossing are the simplest and easiest ways to get rid of bad breath. Ensure to brush twice daily with a fluoride-based toothpaste. Also, brush your tongue because it harbors mouth bacteria and floss between your teeth to remove food particles between your teeth.
Additionally, trapped food particles in combination with bacteria are one of the leading causes of bad breath so ensure you brush your teeth immediately after eating and floss to remove the bacteria that may be trapped around the gum line. Flossing should be taken as seriously as brushing, and both help limit bad breath.
Drink enough water
Water is not just the healthiest beverage for your well-being but also your oral health. The presence of water in the mouth helps stimulate your salivary gland to produce more saliva, which keeps your mouth hydrated. This limits bacteria action in your mouth keeps away food particles and helps to limit bad breath.
Apart from the fact that the smell of cigarette smoke can linger on your breath for a long time and cause bad breath, it is also a guaranteed source of bad breath. Smoking encourages plaques and tartar buildup. This is a good reason to quit smoking and ignore tobacco products even if it is smokeless.
Neutralize bacteria with mouthwash
Mouthwashes work by getting rid of bacteria due to their antibacterial properties. Apart from freshening your breath, mouthwashes help fight off the germs that are left on the surface of the food. Hence, it is important to make mouthwashes an important part of your daily oral care routine.
Clean your dental fittings
If you wear dental fittings such as dental implants or dentures, you have to clean them routinely. Dental fittings usually have specialized cleaning solutions, so feel free to ask your dentist for one.
Skip sugars and candies
Sugars and candies are not healthy for your teeth. Mouth bacteria have an affinity for sugars and candies. The action of mouth bacteria on sugars and candies produces acids that may lead to periodontal diseases, which may contribute to bad breath.
Bad breath may be a sign of a more serious dental problem. It is important to follow good dental habits to limit bad breath and keep your mouth healthy. At Modern Family Dental Care, we specialize in creating beautiful and confident smiles for everyone. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us to help you fix bad breath in Davis Lake, Northlake, and Concord Mills.