10 Tips for Preventing Bad Breath

Bad breath, clinically known as halitosis, affects most people at some point in their life. But for 25% of the United States population with chronic bad breath, medical intervention may be necessary. In fact, bad breath is the third most common reason people visit the dentist, just behind tooth decay and gum disease.

If you’re always self-conscious about offending others with a case of dragon breath, there are steps you can take to prevent it in the first place. Emanuela Alexandroni, DDS offers insight into what causes bad breath and what you can do to stop bad breath in its tracks.

Causes of bad breath

Bad breath can be the result of factors typically not harmful to your oral health, including the natural bacteria that live in your mouth and certain foods you eat, such as garlic and coffee.

Chronic bad breath can also be a symptom of a more serious condition including gum disease and dry mouth. Dry mouth is a condition where you’re not producing enough saliva in your mouth to clean it effectively.

Other medical conditions, including mouth and sinus infections, diabetes, and gastric reflux can result in a chronic bad breath.

Smoking and tobacco not only causes bad breath, it can increase your risk factor for developing gum disease. Because smoking can alter your sense of smell, you may not even realize how bad your breath has become.

Bad breath prevention tips

1. Commit to your dental routine

Brushing and flossing twice a day helps to eliminate the bacteria trapped between your teeth to prevent bad breath. Using over-the-counter mouthwashes kills odor-causing bacteria and improves the effectiveness of your brushing and flossing routine.

2. Get professional help

In addition to your at-home dental routine, you should also schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning. A professional dental cleaning ensures bacteria and plaque are thoroughly removed from your teeth and along your gum line.

Cleanings also help prevent tooth decay and chronic bad breath and allow Dr. Alexandroni the chance to check for infection or other dental health problems.

3. Take care of your dentures

If you wear dentures, be sure to take them out every night and clean them properly to remove bacteria. Improper care of dentures and other dental devices can lead to other dental health problems, including persistent bad breath.

4. Care for your tongue

If you take a look at the very back area of your tongue and see a white or brown coating, you’re looking at odor-causing bacteria. Whenever you brush your teeth, pay careful attention to your tongue, cleaning it carefully with your toothbrush and a mouthwash rinse.

Dr. Alexandroni may recommend other dental hygiene tools, including a tongue scraper, to get rid of bacteria every time your brush.

5. Ditch the tobacco

If you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, quit now. You not only will protect your overall health, you’ll reduce your risk for smoking-related dental problems, including gum disease and chronic bad breath.

6. Improve dry mouth

If you have trouble with a frequent dry mouth, you can improve the natural flow of saliva by drinking enough water and chewing on healthy snacks like apples and carrots. You can also pop in a stick of sugar-free gum to stimulate more saliva production.

If chronic dry mouth is a problem, Dr. Alexandroni can evaluate your oral health and recommend treatment options.

7. Watch what you eat

Some bad breath-producing foods can cause bad breath up to 72 hours after you’ve eaten. If you have an important social event coming up and want to ensure your breath is fresh and clean, avoid eating foods that linger on the palate, such as:

Sugary foods cause an increase in active bacteria that creates strong-smelling breath. Additionally, sugars can lead to other dental health problems, including cavities and progressive tooth decay.

8. Eat a healthy diet

If you’re prone to crash diets or fasting, you can be at increased risk of having chronic bad breath. When your body breaks down fats, it produces chemicals called ketones that have a strong odor.

It’s better for your health to always eat a well-balanced diet, full of fresh vegetables and fruits, rather than missing meals or frequent dieting.

9. Know your medications

If you take daily vitamins or medications, such as nitrates for heart conditions or chemotherapy treatments, you may develop bad breath as a result. Some drugs reduce your production of saliva, triggering a chronic bad breath.

10. Seek treatment for other medical conditions

Sinus inflammation and infections, common with allergies and colds, can cause bacteria to form on your tonsils in the back of your throat that produces a strong odor. Seek help from your primary care physician to treat sinus infections and other nose and throat conditions.

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