Let’s talk about halitosis—bad breath. Not fun to talk about, but even less fun to realize you have halitosis. Good oral health care can prevent halitosis, but sometimes, it is caused by medications and medical conditions associated with dry mouth. Bad breath can also be a sign of infection, chronic gastrointestinal reflux, or even some cancers and metabolic diseases. Lifestyle habits, including smoking and diet, can also contribute to halitosis.
If you’re concerned about halitosis, your first step should be to talk to your dentist and doctor about the possible root cause of the issue and what you should do to improve your breath. A common cause of halitosis is gum disease and poor dental hygiene, so anything you can do to boost your oral health will likely freshen your breath. So, in addition to a regular regimen of brushing your teeth, you will likely want to try to improve your mouth health by enhancing your flossing routine, using mouthwash, and cleaning your tongue. Of course, any dental, periodontal, or health issues that might cause the halitosis should also be treated.
Flossing for Better Breath
Most people floss at least a little, but a more robust flossing schedule could make a difference in your breath. Any food that gets stuck between teeth can contribute to halitosis by harboring bacteria between teeth. To improve bad breath, start by flossing after every meal. You may want to purchase dental picks or interdental brushes to ensure more thorough flossing wherever life takes you.
For those who struggle with flossing the traditional way, consider a different style of flossing. Instead of using floss, try a water flosser, which will also help rinse out your mouth and stimulate your gums. Another option is to use the flossing head of your electric toothbrush. Don’t have an electric toothbrush? Consider it another step up in your dental care routine.
Cleaning Your Tongue
The tongue can hold onto a lot of bacteria and spread the scent of halitosis with every breath you take. That is why dentists recommend cleaning your tongue. To improve halitosis, try brushing the surface of your tongue or scraping it with the tongue-cleaning backside of a toothbrush. Some toothbrushes have a tongue scraper end opposite the brush end. Stainless steel tongue scrapers are designed specifically for fast tongue scraping. They clean up easily and last for years. The one possible side effect of tongue brushing or scraping is that it could make you gag, so use the tool that works best for you.
In addition to cleaning your tongue, consider eating foods that can enhance your oral health. Adding crunchy raw fruits and vegetables and calcium-rich nuts to your diet will have a positive impact on your breath as well as your overall well-being. Avoid sugary and sticky foods that give bacteria a stronghold on your teeth and tongue. The simple act of chewing a stalk of celery or eating a crisp apple can have a positive effect on your breath.
When you walk into the drug store’s dental aisle, it becomes clear that a lot of people struggle with their breath. Just look at all the different brands and kinds of mouthwash on the shelves! There are tons of options! Mouthwash comes in different flavors and scents and with different features, such as fluoride, alcohol-free, and other varieties. Learn the basics about mouthwash here.
Long story short, antibacterial mouthwash reduces the bacteria in the mouth and that alone can improve your breath and oral health. Some mouthwashes also feature fluoride, which will also help your teeth by fortifying the tooth enamel. A small bottle allows you to run into the restroom to freshen your breath quickly after lunch.
If you are new to mouthwash, we recommend trying an alcohol-free mouthwash to start. They are milder than alcohol-based mouthwash. Trial-size mouthwashes in the travel section at the store will allow you to try a flavor before you buy a large bottle.
Improving halitosis may be as simple as improving your oral health routine with additional flossing, tongue scraping, and mouthwash. Be sure to address halitosis with your dentist and doctor to see if there are medical conditions that could be contributing to bad breath. Contact Uptown Dental for your appointment.