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Beating Bad Breath with Healthy Oral Hygiene

A beautiful and healthy smile is only one aspect of oral health. Without question, it is an important one, since you will often be judged on the quality of your smile, especially in those first impression situations. But there is something else that is equally important when you are meeting someone for the first time, or any time you will be spending time with others in close quarters, and that is the odor of your breath.

Millions and millions of people in this country suffer from bad breath, also known as halitosis. Bad breath may seem like a fairly small matter when compared to the problems you could have, but bad breath should not be ignored. For one thing, bad breath is often a symptom of a larger problem, especially when it come to oral health. Both tooth decay and gum disease are usually accompanied by bad breath. But another thing to consider is how the smell of your breath affects the way others view you. If co-workers find working with you to be unpleasant because of your bad breath, then you are going to have a hard time in the workplace. Not to mention how difficult your social life will be if you don’t get your halitosis under control.

At Clearwater Dental Associates, we want the people of Clearwater, FL to enjoy their work lives and social lives without the fear of bad breath. So, let’s take a moment to examine the causes and treatments of halitosis.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Typically, bad breath is the result of bacteria and food debris decomposing on your teeth and gums. Incidentally, this is also how tooth decay and gum disease start, so you can see that the connection between oral hygiene and bad breath is already clear.

Oral hygiene habits – Since bad breath is most often caused by food particles and bacteria, the best way to prevent and treat it is to keep the food and bacteria off of your teeth. Completely neglecting your brushing and flossing routine will almost guarantee that you get bad breath. But even just brushing too quickly, or not often enough, can be enough to give your breath an unpleasant odor.

Food choices – The foul odor emanating from your mouth isn’t always coming from your teeth and gums. Sometimes it is coming straight out of your lungs. This is because certain foods, garlic and onions are the best example, have odor causing chemicals that get into you bloodstream and eventually end up in your lungs.

As annoying as this is, this type of bad breath is usually not as bad as what you get from decomposing bacteria, but that, of course, is largely a matter of opinion. It’s also worth noting that bad breath caused by food chemicals is not an indication of illness. So, this really is more of a social issue than a health one.

Illness and medication – Unfortunately, sometimes an effort to stay healthy can cause unintended side effects that can lead to bad breath. For example, many medications cause dry mouth, as does illness itself, and dry mouth often leads to bad breath. Bacteria thrives in your mouth without saliva to keep it in check, so anything that causes a lack of saliva will also cause bad breath.

How to Control Bad Breath

The good news here is that bad breath is typically pretty easy to control. In most cases it just requires that you step up your oral hygiene routine and drink plenty of water. Be diligent in your brushing and flossing. Do it at least twice daily, and do not forget to brush your tongue. Bacteria and food particles will hide on the back of your tongue, so if you don’t brush them away, you have some bad breath in your future.

As we mentioned above, dehydration is a major contributor to bad breath. So make sure you always drink plenty of water. If medication is keeping your mouth dry, then sugarless hard candy and chewing gum can help. If it continues, see your doctor because you may need a special mouth rinse to keep your mouth moist.

Mouthwash and toothpaste flavored with mint can be useful in masking odors, as can minty sugarless gum. This is helpful for fighting garlic and onion breath, which will go away in a few hours, depending on how much and how often you eat onions and garlic.

As always, regular visits to Clearwater Dental Associates will help keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.