Solving Bad Breath—For Good
How many times have you been in a meeting where someone whispers something to you? But then, you’re in very close proximity, and instead of concentrating on the answer back to the whispers your mind is racing as you reel back from their terrible breath.
Worse yet, say it’s you who just ate the garlic-fried jumbo shrimp. You’re pressed to answer a question, but as your blood pressure rises and your palms begin to sweat, unable to open your mouth, your colleagues look at you with increasing confusion.
You try to cover your mouth to shield them all from your bad breath, and while they may not have scrunched up their nose in disgust, you are still replaying the moment in your head trying to reassess the situation to determine if they noticed your bad breath.
If bad breath is holding you back personally or professionally, then keep reading as we break down both natural and professional remedies for curing the stink.
Learn what causes bad breath
Before diving into cures, it’s important to know what causes chronic bad breath.
First off, did you know that bad breath odors vary depending on the source or the underlying cause? For example, if you’ve ever eaten an Italian dish heavy in garlic or Tex-Mex heavy in onions, know that what you eat has a direct impact on breath.
However, for many people, bad breath persists long past a meal. In addition to food, certain health conditions, medications, and infections can also cause lingering bad breath. If you can’t shake the bad smell, then it might be time to look at your medications and determine if that or an underlying dental condition (or poor hygiene) causing the problem.
And once the problem is determined it is much easier to cure instead of just masking it!
Mints and gum
If bad breath weren’t a problem, then grocery stores wouldn’t be stocked with mint-flavored gums and candies. In a pinch (or after a meal at our favorite joint in Fort Worth), we commonly reach for a peppermint or stick of gum. As dentists we advocate for sugar-free gum as opposed to a sticky peppermint that can cause more damage. And while these candies many create a temporary fix, they won’t fix the root of the problem. If possible, ditch the mints and brush your teeth after meals to rid you mouth of bacteria that cause the bad breath.
Change your lifestyle
Prior to seeking professional help, there are many at-home changes you can make to curb bad breath or wash it out when it occurs.
First, ensure that you’re brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day. When you are brushing, it’s important to not forget about your tongue. Bacteria that causes bad odors can coat the tongue causing bad breath. Consider using a tongue scraper to really clean it, too. And don’t forget to change your toothbrush out every three to four months! Even though you rinse it off after every use, bacteria can still accumulate.
And finally, don’t forget to make your bi-annual appointments with your dentist. Not only will the professional cleaning allow you to discuss concerns about bad breath with your dentist it will also provide your mouth with a “reset.”
Toothpastes and mouth washes
A common cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on your teeth. Both over-the-counter and prescription-strength mouth rinse can help kill lingering bacteria. In addition, your dentist may also recommend toothpaste that contains an antibacterial agent to kill bacteria that cause those bad odors.
If at-home remedies aren’t doing the job, it might be time to make an appointment with your dentist to review medications you’re on and discuss any underlying health conditions that could be making bad breath worse.
In some cases, bad breath is a side effect of an underlying disease. Diabetes, liver disease, acid reflux and chronic respiratory diseases can all cause bad breath. If your bad breath is a symptom of one of these disorders, treating the root cause is the best way to reduce and eventually cure your bad breath. Here at Dr. Ku’s office, we can work with both you and your physician to ensure your pre-existing conditions are under control.
Bad breath can be more than just embarrassing. It can cause to stagnation in both your personal and professional life as well. If you are suffering from paralyzing bad breath, it is important you first examine your lifestyle and oral hygiene habits, and then make an appointment with your dentist to ensure there is nothing more significant happening in your mouth.