Have you ever caught a whiff of someone’s bad breath? Or do you yourself worry yourself that you have a case of horrific halitosis? If your answer is YES, then don’t worry because your experienced dental professional can help. As for how you tell your friend or loved one they have bad breath, you’re on your own…
Do you have bad breath?
You might be wondering: “I’m not sure! How do I know I have bad breath? OMG, I DEFINITELY have bad breath and I’ve been embarrassing myself for all these years!”. In fact, this is a real worry for some people. It is actually a real phobia named ‘Halitophobia’ – where the sufferer has an intense fear of having halitosis (bad breath). But relax, your breath probably isn’t that bad. However, it does raise the interesting question of “how can I tell if I have bad breath?”
How to tell if you have bad breath:
Unless you have really honest friends, you’re may be in the dark about the odor of your orifice. And if you’re not comfortable asking someone to smell your breath, here are a few ways to test yourself if you have bad breath:
- Lick the back of your hand, let the saliva dry and then smell the saliva. If it smells, then I have bad news for you my friend.
- Floss your back teeth and smell the floss. It shouldn’t smell like anything, but if it does smell funky, you may need a breath mint.
- Inspect your tongue for a whitish, fuzzy coating. This may indicate the presence of bacteria or sulfurous compounds known to cause bad breath.
What causes bad breath?
So, you tried the above methods and found out you have bad breath. My Condolences… Bad breath truly is your enemy, and to defeat your enemy, you must first understand a bit about how it works.
Otherwise, in 90% of normal everyday bad breath cases, the origin of the odor is in the mouth itself. Most frequently on the tongue, below the gum line, and in the pockets created by gum disease between teeth and gums. This is known as ‘intra-oral halitosis’. Bad breath from these regions of the mouth is caused by the breakdown of proteins into individual amino acids, followed by the further breakdown of these amino acids which causes a detectable odorous gas. The gases are known as Volatile Sulfur Compounds, and luckily for you, they can be effectively minimised by following a thorough dental routine, including regular trips to your dental specialist.
Bad breath can also be caused by food becoming stuck in between your teeth and beginning to decay. The decaying means bacteria are feasting, and as they feast and die, they can produce foul smelling odors. This is why brushing, flossing and dental checkups are so important.
While this process of breaking down proteins and bacteria are often the cause of everyday bad breath, in some chronic or severe cases of bad breath, it is best to see a doctor to rule out any health-related concerns that may be causing your bad breath.
How to Beat Bad Breath?
Now you know you have it, and know what causes it, now we can discuss how to fix bad breath. Without further ado below are some simple steps you can take to ensure you avoid bad breath
Brush your teeth
Well Done… Brushing 2-3 times a day after meals. Ensure you cover all the surfaces on your teeth and gums
Getting in between teeth is crucial to removing bits of stuck food after your last meal. Get in there with some floss and clean it out after every meal
Consult your dentist
Your dentist can help find where the odor is coming from, and even indicate when it is a medical problem. They can also make sure you are flossing and brushing correctly.
Drink more water
When you are dehydrated, your salivary flow decreases, leading to a concentration of the things that cause bad breath. So, drink up…
Mouthwash can be effective at killing the bacteria that cause bad breath, however be careful to choose a low alcohol mouthwash. Alcohol can lead to drying out of the mouth, which can actually lead to more bacterial growth and bad breath. Find a good antibacterial mouth wash with menthol. For best and longer lasting results, wait 15 minutes after brushing before rinsing with mouthwash.
Take breath mint
If bad breath is still an issue, you can carry around gum or breath mints to get you through to your next brush and floss. However, make sure they don’t contain sugar, as that can be bad for your teeth, and make the problem even worse in the long run!
Treat underlying condition
If you found that your bad breath is being caused by a medical condition, such as tonsillitis or a sinus infection. Make sure you treat the underlying condition. Good oral hygiene may briefly mask the issue, but it will keep coming back until it’s resolved. See a doctor to find out where the smell is coming from.