Halitosis! Hali-what? Avoiding onions and garlic at lunch is a good start, but there might be more to fresh breath than you know. Most of us won’t notice our own foul breath, but if you’re curious lick your hand, let it dry, and give it a sniff. Don’t like what you smell? Here are some tips to help.
#1 Clean Your Mouth
There are over 600 types of bacteria in our mouths. Ew, I know. And of these 600 types, the vast majority of them secrete sulfur compounds AKA eau de rotten egg. The best way to keep these bacteria from turning you into “the smelly kid” is managing the type and quantity of bacteria growing. Brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping keeps the oral cavity squeaky clean and disrupts bacterial growth. Gum disease is the number one cause of bad breath but can be controlled with excellent oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings.
A healthy diet full of fiber and fresh foods keep the digestive tract moving and breath fresh. Citrus is great because it is high in Vitamin C, which inhibits bacteria growth and is a natural cleanser. Foods high in fiber encourage salivary flow, which breaks down and removes debris. An apple a day isn’t just for your total body health, apples are also known as nature’s toothbrush!
#3 Digestive Health
A healthy digestive tract is key for a fresh mouth. Constipation, stomach ulcers, and acid reflux can all cause unpleasant odors to escape through the mouth. Check with your doctor if you are noticing a bad taste, regular heartburn or digestive irregularity.
#4 Total Body Health
Oral infections, including tonsil stones, are smelly in their own right. If you have a sore throat, try rinsing with Listerine or warm salt water. Certain systemic diseases, including cancer, can also cause bad breath. Get annual check-ups with your doctor, and if you notice unusual symptoms make an appointment.
#5 Dry Mouth
When salivary flow isn’t adequate to remove debris, bacteria and food particles are left behind to cause halitosis. There are hundreds of medications that cause dry mouth, most notably are drugs that treat depression, some antihistamines, decongestants, and pain medications. If your mouth is dry make sure to get enough water, try Biotene and other dry mouth products and talk to your favorite dental hygienist.
C Read RDH