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, and 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?

  1. 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).
  2. Alcohol, Coffee & Cigarettes – At Dr. Joseph Boesch, 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Drugs – 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 Rockville 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.