Having bad breath can be quite embarrassing. However, it can also point to much more serious dental or oral problems and conditions. Knowing how to get rid of bad breath is, therefore, important for both your overall confidence and for your health.
From bad oral hygiene and the food you eat to dental and gum diseases such as periodontitis, anything could be the source of bad breath. Read on if you want to find out more about each of the causes, as well as effective ways of how to get rid of bad breath altogether.
What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?
Bad breath can happen for various reasons. Most bad breath problems start in the mouth, so your food and dental habits are of utmost importance. However, a lot of the time it is bacteria and different medical conditions that cause the condition. In all cases, visiting your dentist may be necessary to get to the root of the issue.
One of the most common sources of bad breath is the breakdown of food particles around your teeth. These particles can cause bacteria and a foul odor. Additionally, foods like onions, certain spices, and garlic can lead to bad breath as well. Not only do they leave a strong odor in your mouth, but they can also cause bad breath after you digest them and they enter your bloodstream.
If you don’t floss and brush your teeth regularly, plaque will form on your gums and teeth. Plaque is a colorless, often sticky film of bacteria that has a specific unpleasant smell. If you leave it unattended for long, plaque will create little pockets of bacteria between your teeth and your gums. These pockets can lead to serious diseases, including periodontitis (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001059.htm).
Your tongue might be a carrier of bacteria too, as well as dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or are loose-fitting.
Cigarettes can cause a specific odor that is quite hard to eliminate no matter how hard you try. Smoking can also lead to different gum diseases that might cause bad breath.
Bad breath might be a side effect of certain meds you are taking. Meds indirectly cause bad breath by causing dry mouth. However, they can also do it directly by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in your system that can be carried on your breath.
Teeth and Gum Conditions
Gum disease can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, creating little open spaces in between. Odor-causing bacteria can then fill these gaps and cause bad breath. Old and faulty teeth restorations can be a breeding ground for odor-carrying bacteria as well.
How Can You Tell If You Have Bad Breath?
Bad breath diagnosis is a tricky thing. It is quite hard to figure out by yourself if you have it. Some people are too self-conscious about it, and they think their breath smells unpleasant even when it doesn’t. Others don’t realize that they have bad breath at all.
Having someone you trust and are close to, like a friend or a relative, check it for you is a good start. Your dentist might also notice it while doing your routine checkup. If they don’t, you can always ask them to check. They can scrape your tongue or the plaque on your teeth and analyze it to find out more.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Now that you know all its common causes, it is time to find out how to get rid of bad breath.
Good and Regular Oral Hygiene
No matter what the cause of bad breath is, the first step to getting rid of it is practicing regular oral hygiene. Make sure you brush your teeth after every meal and that you floss at least once every day. Additionally, brush and clean your tongue every time you brush your teeth as well. You can do so by using your toothbrush or a tongue scraper.
Brushing your teeth and tongue regularly will remove any plaque, food particles, and bacteria that form there. You can also buy some antibacterial toothpaste or mouthwash that will help speed up the process. If you are unsure of which ones to buy, your dentist will be able to help.
Regular Visits to Your Dentist
If regular oral hygiene still hasn’t solved your problems, visiting your dentist is the next step you should take. They will be able to find the source of your bad breath and treat it accordingly.
Gum disease, or periodontitis, causes small bacteria-filled gaps to form between your gums and your teeth. Sometimes, no amount of brushing or mouthwash will be able to help. In such cases, your dentist will clean those gaps for you using special tools and antibacterial liquids.
If your teeth restorations are in bad condition and are causing your unpleasant breath, your dentist might suggest replacing them. They’ll clean everything properly and give you new, clean restorations that won’t be a breeding ground for bacteria.
If your tongue is the problem, your dentist can scrape off the film of bacteria on it and clean it using special equipment. It won’t hurt, and it’ll be done quickly.
Finally, your dentist might conclude that some other underlying health condition is causing your bad breath. In such cases, they might refer you to your primary care provider to get further tests. Conditions that might cause bad breath are metabolic disorders as well as problems with your gut and stomach.
A Few Parting Words
As you have read, bad breath can be a sign of both poor oral hygiene habits and different gum diseases. Whatever the cause, it is a serious issue that needs your full attention. Although you can try to change your habits and deal with it on your own, consulting with your dentist is still the best way to go. They will know how to get rid of bad breath, and you’ll be able to smile and socialize again without fear of disease or embarrassment