WHAT CAUSES BAD BREATH AND HOW CAN YOU TREAT IT? OCHD PROVIDES KEY ORAL HYGIENE TIPS.
(Toms River) – For the past few years, many people have had the opportunity to hide a sour mouth behind a face covering. However, since masks continue to come off in specific instances it may be time to start thinking about the importance of oral hygiene again.
“Halitosis is nothing more than a term for bad breath,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “About 20 percent of the population suffers from halitosis and bad breath can be a symptom of everything from poor oral hygiene and diet to more serious health issues.”
Many possible causes of bad breath include:
- The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic and spices, also can cause bad breath. After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs and affect your breath.
- Tobacco products. Smoking causes its own unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath.
- Poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. A colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth. If not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums (periodontitis).
- Dry mouth. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to “morning breath,” and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open.
- Medications. Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth.
- Infections in your mouth. Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores.
- Other mouth, nose and throat conditions. Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath.
- Other causes. Diseases, such as some cancers, and conditions such as metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive breath odor as a result of chemicals they produce.
The following is a list of a few tips on how to get rid of bad breath:
- Brush and floss more: Floss after every meal if possible. The less food debris you have, the less chance of bad breath.
- Switch to an electric toothbrush: Electric brushes do a more thorough job of cleaning the mouth.
- Consider a tongue scraper: This tool is specifically designed to scrape out all the junk that accumulates in the back of your mouth. It’s helpful if your halitosis is a long-term problem and not something that just pops up occasionally.
- Use the right mouthwash: Stick to antiseptic or antibacterial mouthwashes, which inhibit the growth of halitosis-causing bacteria. Use them after every meal if possible.
- Eat crunchy vegetables and fruits: Snacking on carrots, celery and apples in between meals – anything that requires a lot of chewing and isn’t sticky – is a great way to clear out debris from the mouth when you don’t have a chance to brush.
- Skip smelly foods: If you’re serious about getting better breath, it’s time to lay off the allium family, which includes onions and garlic. Though you may miss the taste of the food, if you’re that concerned about bad breath, you’re better off choosing less-smelly foods.
- Pop in a piece of chewing gum: Gum helps spark production of saliva, which clears out halitosis-causing bacteria. Make sure it’s sugar-free gum, though, or you will find yourself battling a whole different dental problem: tooth decay.
- Drop the dairy products:Dairy can also be bad news for mouths, as bacteria thrive on the proteins in milk and cheese.
- See your dentist regularly:Plaque can build up if you don’t have regular cleanings, leading to halitosis.
“In some instances halitosis can be a temporary concern and easily remedied,” explained Joyce Jackson, OCHD Dental Health Services Coordinator. However, in other cases it’s important to learn the reason behind a serious case of bad breath and the best way to go about correcting the condition. If you are concerned there may be a potential underlying health issue leading to your halitosis visit your dentist or health care provider.”
Learn more regarding OCHD Dental Health Education programs available for students and seniors by visiting www.ochd.org.
Visit the Ocean County Health Department or follow us on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/OCHD.org. You also can download the new free mobile app from the Google Play/Android & Apple APP store: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a50608754