There’s more social stigma behind bad breath than just about any other kind of dental issue. Need a dental implant? No big deal. Need to have a cavity filled? Few people care. Yet if you have bad breath, people will avoid you like the plague.
Having bad breath makes social life incredibly challenging. Fortunately, bad breath isn’t very difficult to treat. Here’s what causes breath, as well as exactly what you can do to treat it.
What Causes Bad Breath?
The vast majority of bad breath is caused by food habits and dental habits.
If you’re not regularly cleaning your teeth, your tongue and your mouth, then tiny food particles that remain in your mouth will deteriorate and give off odor. This is the most common cause of bad breath.
If you have cavities or cracked fillings, food particles can actually get trapped inside the small spaces in your teeth and also give off bad breath.
Occasionally, bad breath can be caused by more serious issues. For example, if you have a stomach issue, the bad breath could be emanating from your stomach.
There isn’t one set cause from bad breath. There’s no way to determine scientifically whether or not someone’s breath is “bad,” which makes it difficult to quantify exactly what’s causing it. That said, the above three causes are by and large the most common causes.
Getting Rid of Bad Breath
You can get rid of bad breath 95% of the time by adopting better dental habits. Just adopt these habits and you’ll quickly find your bad breath disappearing.
- Go to a dentist at least twice a year. Your dentist will be able to deep clean your teeth, which will eliminate any odors being emitted by food particles left in areas of your teeth that you have trouble brushing.
- Hydrate. Drink at least 8 cups of water a day, preferably not all at once. This helps wash out food odors and food particles, as well as keep your mouth hydrated.
- Brush your tongue. Use a tongue scraper if possible. A lot of bacteria live on your tongue, not on your teeth. These bacteria can cause bad odors.
- Avoid sweet foods. Sweet foods cause a sugar buildup, which creates acid in your mouth. If you eat sugary foods, try to brush your teeth immediately afterwards.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol or coffee. Tobacco and coffee both have very strong odors that can stay on your breath for a long time. Alcohol can cause dehydration and dry mouth for a long time after drinking.
- Try a food log. If your breath is persistently bad, try keeping a log of the different foods you eat throughout the day. See if and how they affect your breath.
To see how your breath smells to others, lick your skin on the back of your hand, then let the saliva dry. Smell the spot you licked about 15 seconds later. This is what you smell like to others.
Now you know what causes bad breath and how to eliminate it. If you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort, you should have absolutely no trouble getting rid of bad breath.
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