What Can You Do About Bad Breath?Forty million Americans suffer from bad breath, or halitosis, according to the American Dental Hygienists' Association. Bad breath makes you self-conscious and embarrassed and gets in the way of life. Here is what you can do to freshen your breath.
Brush, floss and clean your tongue.Plaque - the sticky whitish yellow-build-up on teeth that harbors bacteria and food left between teeth are the main causes of bad breath. Brush at least twice a day after breakfast and dinner and floss at least one of those times, preferably at night. You cannot over floss but don't overdo the brushing. Brushing too aggressively and with too much toothpaste can wear away enamel, making your teeth sensitive and more vulnerable to decay.
Gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush to remove the coating that normally forms on the tongue which can harbor foul-smelling bacteria. You can also use a tongue scraper. Apply even pressure across the surface of the tongue area, removing bacteria, food debris, and dead cells.
Anti-bacterial mouthwashes add extra protection by reducing plaque-causing bacteria. After eating, swishing your mouth with plain water also helps freshen your breath by eliminating food particles.
Lack of saliva promotes tooth decay and can cause bad breath. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day. Use a humidifier at night if the air is dry. If your mouth is still unusually dry, talk to your dentist or doctor. Dry mouth is a side effect of certain medications.
Avoid things that affect your breathCoffee, tea and red wine, onions and garlic are the prime offenders. Brushing after you eat onions or garlic doesn't help, the volatile substances they contain make their way into your blood stream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out.
Bad breath is just one of many reasons not to smoke. Smoking damages gum tissue and stains teeth. It also increases your risk of oral cancer.
Sugary candies promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth and add to bad breath problems. Instead, chew sugarless gum which stimulates saliva, the mouth’s natural defense against acids which cause tooth decay and bad breath.
Keep your gums healthy
Have your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months or as often as recommended. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common cause of bad breath. Bacteria accumulate in pockets at the base of teeth, creating bad odors.
If your bad breath continues despite your best efforts, see your doctor. Bad breath can be a symptom of medical conditions such as a sinus infection, postnasal drip from allergies, lung infections, diabetes, or liver or kidney diseases.