Bad Breath: Three Ways to Combat It

Bad breath, also called halitosis, is something that most of us have experienced, most of us have had at one time or another but is also something many of us have difficulties talking about.  

For many, chronic halitosis is a problem that can be psychologically damaging, even affecting personal relationships or jobs. This can happen despite a regular, good regimen of home oral care. 

Quick Facts About Bad Breath: 

  • Bad breath affects 1 out of every 4 people around the world. 
  • There are over 100 causes of bad breath (see below). 
  • You can’t smell your own bad breath.

What Causes Bad Breath? 

Poor Oral Hygiene 
Digestion begins in your mouth when food is broken down by chewing and saliva. Any food that lingers in your mouth (trapped in your teeth or when tiny particles are trapped by your taste buds) will start to decay. This releases odor-causing molecules known as volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). 

Alcohol, Coffee & Cigarettes 
At Aylmer Family Dental, we know that the one common factor amongst coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes is that they all slow down the production of saliva. Saliva is important because its bacterial enzymes kill bacteria that causes bad breath (as it re-mineralizes your tooth enamel, protecting your teeth from decay-causing bacteria).   

Spicy, Odorous Foods 
Garlic, onions, and cured meats, etc. can cause bad breath, but it’s temporary as odor is released during ingestion and digestion … and then it’s gone.   

Dry Mouth 
Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth can cause halitosis as saliva is lacking. Saliva washes away debris that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. It’s the decomposition of this debris that causes bad breath.  

Gastrointestinal Problems/Acid Reflux 
When your stomach acids bubble up to your esophagus, this may cause your food to regurgitate back to your esophagus. The lingering acids can cause bad breath.  

There are some medications that can reduce saliva and increase your chances of having bad breath. 

3 Ways To Combat Bad Breath 

  1. A healthy mouth and a good oral hygiene regimen is a must for fresh breath. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily will help remove the bacteria that lives on your teeth and tongue and causes bad breath. You’ll also be minimizing the risk of bacteria buildup which can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and more serious gum disease.
  2. Have your teeth professionally cleaned at regular intervals. By going to your dentist in Aylmer a minimum of two times annually, you’re mitigating the risk of getting oral disease. And it’s the perfect opportunity to ask us about your breath if you have concerns. Don’t be embarrassed! Ask us about it!
  3. Drink plenty of water to keep your saliva flowing. And, if you’re caught short and can’t brush, give your mouth a vigorous rinse with water … then brush as soon as you can. You can also use sugar-free candy and gum to stimulate saliva – look for those with Xylitol because while it tastes sweet, it doesn’t promote tooth decay.

When Should You See The Doctor?  

If your bad breath persists after making lifestyle changes, talk to us, and if we suspect a health condition is causing your bad breath, we may recommend you see your physician. 

While we can definitely help with bad breath that stems from an oral source, systemic-generated bad breath must be investigated by your general practitioner.

But before you go, please be sure to review your home care routine. Really keep track of it. Sometimes our patients feel they’re on top of their personal care game, but when we get to chatting, they reconsider and find areas upon which they can improve.

Let’s just do a quick review right now…

  1. Do you brush at least twice a day, and for a full 2 minutes each time? Divide your mouth into four quadrants – upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left. Now divide those into 2-3 sections – inside surfaces, outside surfaces, chewing surfaces (for your molars). Remember, keep your touch light.
  2. Do you floss at least once a day? It’s a general recommendation to floss before bed because when you sleep, your saliva production slows down. As saliva is a natural buffer, helping wash away bacteria and remineralize your teeth, your enamel is more susceptible during sleep. BUT if you just are too tired and skip your flossing because of it, try shifting floss time to earlier in the evening – try it when you brush after dinner.

Next Steps… 

Are you, or anyone you know, suffering from bad breath and looking to solve the problem? Ask us – your dentist in Aylmer. We’ll be happy to recommend a clinically proven treatment perfect for your situation.  

Whether it’s a once-in-a-while problem or a consistent issue, bad breath can be resolved with quick fixes and long-term solutions. Call us at (226) 210-0551 today!