Beat Bad Breath — The Fight for Fresh

Morning breath, dry mouth, stale breath or halitosis, however you put it, a funky-flavored mouth can put your mood in a funk. At best, bad breath’s an embarrassment. At worst, it can be a sign of serious disease. Many factors can make a stink, but fear not there’s much you can do to prevent one, too. Stinky Source: Poor oral hygiene. About 90 percent of bad breath originates with oral bacteria. Food debris that collects in the mouth can rot if it’s not removed promptly. Smell-good Solution: In addition to brushing and flossing your teeth daily, brush your tongue every day to keep breath smelling fresh. The area at the far back of the tongue is particularly important, because this is where as much as 80 percent of odor-causing bacteria congregate. Food particles that collect on poorly fitting or unclean dentures can also cause odor.

Stinky Source: Dental problems. There’s strong evidence that the same bacteria that cause halitosis also produce gum disease. When plaque collects under the gums, the bacteria in it release foul-smelling sulfur compounds that irritate and eventually destroy the gum tissue and supporting structures. Smell-good Solution: Flossing daily to remove plaque from the gum pockets around the teeth will help keep gums clean and fresh. Regular dental visits are also important to monitor and treat gum disease, which is linked to many other medical and dental problems.

Stinky Source: Diet. Certain foods have long been linked to breath odor. Cabbage, garlic, onions and alcohol are common offenders. Ironically, a lack of food can also affect your breath. Extreme dieting and bulimia lead to health and dental problems far beyond the stinky side effects. Smell-good Solution: Maintain a balanced diet of healthy foods like whole grains, lean meats, calcium-rich dairy products and plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Visit the Oral Health Portal of our website to read about how, The Right Diet Can Protect Your Teeth.

Stinky Source: Infection and chronic disease. Kidney failure, liver disease, diabetes, and respiratory tract infections like sinusitis and tonsillitis can cause breath odor. In addition, many medications cause dry mouth, cutting back on the saliva available to give your mouth a natural bath. Smell-good Solution: Work with both your doctor and your dentist to find the best treatment solution for you. Saliva substitutes and antibacterial mouthwashes may also offer relief.

Stinky Source: Dry mouth (xerostomia). Too little moisture in the mouth allows dead cells and bacteria to accumulate on your tongue and teeth. That’s why your mouth tastes stale in the morning saliva production slows during the night. Many medications also cause dry mouth. Smell-good Solution: Stimulate saliva production by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help, because the sweet taste and chewing action trigger the salivary glands. Extreme dry mouth can be treated with over the counter artificial saliva products.

Stinky Source: Tobacco. Add bad breath to the laundry list of symptoms caused by smoking and chewing tobacco. Smell-good Solution: Quit. Doing so will also ward off other common side effects like cancer and death. Get help here.


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