The pandemic made it easy to cover up acne, food in our teeth, and bad breath with a mask. Now that people are starting to take their masks off, you may be wondering the best ways to combat bad breath. Fortunately, with proper dental hygiene and regular trips to your general dentist, you can determine what may be causing your bad breath and ways you can prevent it in the future.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be caused by many factors, including poor oral hygiene, bacteria, foods, and other significant health problems. Most of the time, bad breath originates from bacteria present on your teeth, gums, and tongue.
Bacteria can lead to other problems like cavities, gum disease, and a yellow-coated tongue, all of which cause a strong odor. This is because the bacteria found in the pockets in your gums have foul smells that radiate and create bad breath. You can also have intermittent bad breath from strong-smelling foods and drinks like onions, garlic, alcohol, and coffee.
Other serious problems that cause bad breath include malnutrition, dehydration, chronic dry mouth, sore throat, sinusitis, heartburn, lactose intolerance, and stomach ulcers.
How Bad Breath Affects Oral Health
If you have continuous bad breath, then chances are your oral health already needs to be checked out. Bad breath is a sign that bacteria are present in your mouth, and without brushing or flossing often, the bacteria will continue to grow. Bacteria cause plaque to form on your teeth, a foul-smelling substance that eventually leads to tooth decay if it’s not brushed away.
Continuous bacteria growth can also lead to other serious dental problems like cavities, gingivitis, tooth decay, gum disease, diabetes, and periodontitis.
How to Prevent Bad Breath
Because bad breath causes several health problems, it’s essential to stay on track by maintaining good oral health. If your bad breath isn’t caused by an underlying health complication, then fortunately, there are many ways to combat it. Here are our top tips for preventing bad breath.
1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
You should brush your teeth for two to three minutes at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. If possible, it’s always good to brush after every meal to remove any food debris and plaque.
Along with brushing, it’s important to floss at least once a day. Flossing helps to remove food particles stuck between your teeth that your toothbrush may not reach. If possible, also rinse with mouthwash.
Make sure to also brush your tongue. You may even consider using a tongue scrape to remove built-up residue between your taste buds.
2. Use Home Remedies
Luckily, there are many different home remedies you can try to combat bad breath. These methods are especially effective for intermittent bad breath caused by strong-smelling foods or drinks. In general, eating and drinking water regularly during the day can help you avoid a dry mouth and an empty stomach, which can cause bad breath.
Here are some other home remedies that you can try to prevent mouth odor.
- Crispy and Crunchy Foods: Foods like carrots and celery can help to wash away bacteria in your mouth by increasing the flow of saliva. Raw crunchy foods like apples contain pectin, which helps to control food odors and promote saliva production. Cinnamon is also effective in treating bad breath because it is antimicrobial.
- Sugarless Gum and Hard Candy: These can help to stimulate saliva production. Gum can also help to dislodge food debris and bacteria stuck in between your teeth.
- Yogurt: Yogurt contains active cultures that not only act as a natural probiotic but also help to reduce odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.
- Citrus Peel: Chewing a piece of lemon or orange peel can treat bad breath since the citric acid from these fruits helps to stimulate your salivary glands.
- Green Plants: Try chewing a fresh sprig of basil, cilantro, mint, or parsley. The chlorophyll in these green plants helps to neutralize foul odors.
- Tea: Rinsing your mouth with black or green tea helps suppress the growth of bacteria in your mouth that typically causes bad breath.
- Milk: Drinking a full glass of milk, especially after eating strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions, can help to improve mouth odor.
- Fennel Seeds: These seeds contain aromatic essential oils that give breath a fresh scent if you chew on them.
- Homemade Mouthwash: You can try creating your own mouthwash at home with baking soda or vinegar. Both are effective in killing bacteria in your mouth and reducing bad breath.
3. Avoid Smoking and Tobacco
You should avoid smoking and tobacco use. These substances not only cause bad breath but are also detrimental to your oral health overall. Tobacco tends to dry out your mouth, and smoking leaves your breath smelling foul.
These substances will also promote further growth of bacteria in your mouth and around your teeth, leading to other dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay.
4. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
It’s important to visit your dentist to have regular teeth cleanings and other dental care services. Most of the time, oral health concerns are usually the cause of bad breath. Your dentist can help rule out any significant problems that may need medical attention, such as gum disease, periodontitis, or other severe medical conditions and infections that can cause bad breath.