Also called as Halitosis, bad breath is a common issue in many individuals. However, the severity of the condition can vary from one individual to another and ignoring/neglecting it can cause more than just a negative social image. Individuals suffering from bad breath find it very difficult to mingle with others in a social circle. Bad breath can also cause issues in occupational interactions. Furthermore, bad breath can disrupt sexual interactions and can cause rifts to appear in a relationship.
Concerned now? Good! Then we can move on to how one can treat halitosis and get rid of bad breath once and for all. But first you would need to understand the basic causes for the condition.
Common Causes for Bad Breath
Improper oral hygiene is considered to be one of the foremost reasons for bad breath. Bacteria thrive on the dirty teeth and gums and cause plaque and tartar which can cause halitosis. Certain foods that you eat can also cause bad breath. In addition to this, certain medical conditions can also cause bad breath.
A certain type of bacteria that lives under the mucous membranes at the back of the tongue can cause bad breath. These bacteria are usually present in small quantities at the back of the mouth and cause halitosis only when they start to multiply in large numbers.
Solutions for Bad Breath
Understanding the underlying reason for the issue beforehand would help take care of halitosis effectively and quickly. Accordingly, here are some of the more common solutions for halitosis in individuals.
Check Your Diet
In some cases, the foods that you eat could contribute to bad breath. These foods would contain odor compounds that are released when you bite/chew them. These odors are released from your mouth when you exhale.
Accordingly, it is considered wise to avoid aromatic foods like onions, garlic, spices, hot peppers, curry etc. that can cause bad breath even several hours after digestion. Foods like fish, red meat, beans, cheese and milk etc. contain abundant levels of protein which when broken down in the mouth can cause bad breath. So stay away from these as well or make sure you brush your teeth properly after eating them.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water would act as an effective natural mouth rinse and help get rid of food particles, debris and other unwanted impurities from the teeth and gums. Accumulation of these particles on the teeth and gums can cause bacteria and plaque buildup in these areas with time.
This could significantly contribute to halitosis. Drinking plenty of water would flush away these impurities and help keep the teeth and gums clean, thereby preventing any anomalies that could lead to bad breath.
Brush, Floss and Rinse Repeatedly
If you suffer from bad breath, make it a point to brush your teeth after every meal. Floss your teeth regularly and use dental picks after meals to remove food particles stuck in between teeth and under the gum line. Rinse your mouth using a good quality mouth wash at night before going to bed. Of course, it also pays to rinse your mouth at regular intervals during the day.
However, the mouth wash would be more effective at night when the saliva flow in your mouth is minimal. As an alternative, you can opt for homemade mouth washes that are equally effective. For instance, a salt water rinse or a mouth wash solution made of baking soda and water would help keep your teeth and gums clean, and get rid of bad breath in the process.
It is also necessary to clean your tongue at regular intervals. Microbe deposits (white residue) on the tongue can cause halitosis in the long run and can be extremely hard to remove after some time. So make it a point to clean your tongue every day using a tongue scraper, plastic spoon or the backside of a toothbrush. This would keep your tongue clean and conditions like halitosis at bay.
Keep Your Mouth Hydrated
A dry mouth can become an active breeding ground for bacteria which would contribute to bad breath. So make sure that your mouth never remains dry for long periods. Keep drinking water at regular intervals, chew gum to improve saliva production in the mouth, and stay away from alcoholic drinks and other beverages like coffee that can lead to a dry mouth.
Certain medications used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, depression or skin allergies etc. can also cause halitosis. In this case, it would be considered wise to talk to a physician about a change in medication or speak to a dentist about the issue and get a remedy for the same.
Cigarette smoke contains bacteria that enter the mouth while smoking and remain there for long periods afterwards. The presence of the bacteria in the mouth can cause a foul odor. In addition to this, smoking can dehydrate the mouth and curb saliva secretion, thereby increasing bad breath considerably.
So try to avoid smoking altogether or chew on some flavored mints or gum after smoking to avoid bad breath. The latter though is just a temporary solution for bad breath caused by smoking which can cause chronic bad breath over a period of time.
Clean Your Dental Equipments Regularly
Make sure that you clean your braces, dentures or retainers properly every night before going to bed. Dirty, unkempt devices can also become breeding grounds for bacteria and cause halitosis.
Brush your dental devices regularly with a soft brush to remove dirt and other impurities. Soak them in a cleansing solution overnight to prevent bacteria buildup. Rinse them thoroughly with water before using them again. These practices would effectively prevent bad breath.
Talk to a Dentist About the Issue
If none of these tips happen to help and the condition worsens with time, talk to a dentist about it. Chances are the bad breath may be caused by an underlying medical anomaly like gum disease. Proper diagnosis would then find out the root cause of the issue in addition to offering you a suitable remedy to treat the condition and the bad breath that accompanies it.