Your Breath – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

No one wants to hear that they have bad breath, but if a good friend or your spouse is telling you, you need to pay attention.  Scared to ask someone how your breath is?  It’s kind of gross but smell your dental floss after flossing.  If your floss smells disgusting or there is blood on it, chances are your mouth has bad breath.

Bad Breath or Halitosis can be a very touchy subject, but fortunately it’s often easy to fix.

The first thing to do is visit your medical Dr. to rule out any health problems or other factors (diet, acid reflux, medications) that may be making your breath peel paint.  Several medical conditions can cause bad breath including diabetes, chronic bronchitis, liver disease or respiratory tract infections.  Your physician can also rule out things like acid reflux, postnasal drip or other causes of chronic dry mouth.

Ruled out medical causes for your bad breath?  Make sure you see your dentist and not just when something is wrong.  Ideally you should have a regularly scheduled appointment every six months.  Your dentist will check for cavities, gum disease, improperly cleaned dentures and that proper oral hygiene is being followed.  Brushing your teeth and flossing is the best defense against most bad breath and should be done after every meal to reduce bacteria in the mouth.  Many dentists recommend using an electric toothbrush for 2 reasons.  First, most have timers on them, and most people do not brush their teeth for a proper length of time.  Secondly, electric toothbrushes have a more uniform motion which helps remove plaque more efficiently than manual toothbrushes.  Brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper can help too.

You can play a part in fixing that funky odor in your mouth too by eating a healthy diet and regular meals.  Avoid very low carb diets or extreme fasting that can cause bad smelling breath.  Snack on raw vegetables or apples as they help clear the mouth of debris.  Obviously avoid eating smelly foods such as garlic, onions and other spicy foods that can cause bad body odor as well as bad breath.

Stay Hydrated – if you can’t brush after a meal drinking a lot of water can help clean bacteria and food from your teeth.  Avoid sugary drinks or too much coffee which sticks to the back of your tongue.  Try chewing a sugarless gum to help with saliva flow.

Cut back on tobacco products and alcohol – both will make your breath stink and tend to stick to you for hours.  Tobacco products can also lead to gum disease which contributes to the smell.  Alcohol dries your mouth out which causes bacteria to thrive.

In the end, bad breath is not only hazardous to your oral health, but to your social life too.  If people are offering you gum or mints daily, call your Dr. or dentist to see what can be done, before your friends must be the ones to tell you.