Do you have social events coming up? Perhaps you’re interviewing for that big job you’ve always wanted or you have a holiday party with friends. Whatever the occasion, these types of events often require you to be in close quarters with other people, conversing and having a good time. If you have bad breath, it can really affect the event and cause you a lot of embarrassment.
If you’re suffering from bad breath, you might be wondering what’s causing it and how you can fix it. Much like other dental problems, bad breath—clinically referred to as halitosis—can be caused by a wide variety of things.
- Poor dental hygiene is one of the biggest causes of halitosis. If you aren’t brushing and flossing your teeth well enough at regular intervals, the leftover food and associated plaque can start to stink.
- Underlying health conditions may also cause your breath to stink. Do you have a cold, sinus infection or pneumonia? Bad breath can also be a sign that you have diabetes, acid reflux or digestion problems.
- Dry mouth can be a big factor in the way your breath smells. Your saliva is a huge deterrent to the “bad” bacteria that wants to grow in your mouth. If you don’t produce as much saliva, that bad bacteria can grow better and cause smellier conditions.
- Dental problems like gum disease, tooth abscesses and cavities can cause halitosis. These things are often caused by the bad bacteria you want to avoid, which in turn increases the bad smell.
- Smoking and alcoholism are common causes for bad bacteria, along with other tobacco products like chewing tobacco.
How to Treat It
If you deal with chronic bad breath, the first thing you should do is try and identify what may be causing it. Consider the causes listed above and see if there is anything there that you can easily identify and correct on your own. Things like upping your dental hygiene game and dropping the tobacco and alcohol consumption can eliminate bad breath almost immediately.
If you can’t easily identify the cause to your bad breath, it’s time to see a dentist. Set up an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. The sooner you correct your halitosis, the quicker you can enjoy social interactions again. Your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth and may suggest you see a doctor if they suspect underlying medical issues.
After diagnosing a cause, your dentist or doctor will provide you a treatment plan. The way you treat your bad breath depends entirely on what’s causing it in the first place. If it’s an underlying medical condition, medication and fixing the problem can correct your halitosis. If it’s a cavity or abscess, dental procedures will help.
How to Prevent It
Preventing halitosis is just as important—if not more important—as treating it. If you never have to experience bad breath in the first place, all the better. Bad breath prevention can also come in many forms, but the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a few things:
- Preform regular dental hygiene.
- See your dentist regularly.
- Only eat sugarless gum and sugar free candy.
- Drink water regularly to stimulate saliva production so your mouth stays moist.
- Quit smoking and other tobacco-related hobbies.
- Use over-the-counter mouthwash to kill the bacteria causing your bad breath. Be aware that mouthwash won’t solve your underlying issues; it will only temporarily mask the odor.