If you’re living in the Kalamazoo, MI area and wondering if a dentist or doctor might be the right person to talk to about your bad breath, then consider reading this article. There are definitely things you can do personally about your bad breath, but oral hygiene is the most important factor in curing halitosis. And if you’re unsure exactly what halitosis is, it’s just another term used to describe chronic bad breath.
The Short Science of Halitosis
Halitosis is caused by bacterial build up in the mouth, due to mouth dryness or xerostomia (for more on the definition see the May Clinic here). Saliva not only helps us chew, swallow and digest food, but having a good level of saliva promotes an optimal pH level in the mouth. When pH levels are thrown off balance (or reach high acidic levels) from low saliva count, the mouth becomes more susceptible to bacterial invasions. Eventually what happens is much like a science experiment, in that bacteria consume oral proteins, leaving behind sulfurous compounds that can smell like decaying matter…Things That Can Cause Your Bad Breath
After understanding the brief scientific explanation above, we can start to look at what might be causing dryness and/or bacterial build up in the mouth. We’ll first look at things that can cause bad breath and hopefully some of these items can be removed from your diet or daily activities.
Consumption of Tobacco Products – Apart from causing tooth discoloration and staining, as well as a slew of other medical issues, smoking or using smokeless tobacco is a leading cause of bad breath. Tobacco can leave your mouth extremely dry which will promote the growth of the bad bacteria mentioned above.
Food Stuck in the Teeth – Dead or decaying matter stuck between the teeth is never good for oral hygiene. This is why we always stress brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly.
Alcohol Consumption – We all know the dangers of too much alcohol consumption on the body, and this is a no brainer for healthy breath. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to too much sugar being broken down by the body, as well as the breakdown and conversion into acetic acid.
Foods & Liquids in General – Certain foods such as garlic, onions and spices can give you bad breath. For another little scientific tidbit, garlic is actually not metabolized by the intestine or liver and the gases can work their way back up to mouth. If you’re looking to avoid bad breath originating in the intestine, it might be best to avoid these types of foods early in the day or late at night.
Oral Infections & Gum Disease – This might be a no brainer, however the symptoms of oral infections and gum disease (or gingivitis) might not always be that noticeable. It’s extremely important to visit the dentist regularly so that they can screen for things like infections, cancers and gum disease.
Bad Oral Hygiene – Again, another no-brainer but we should always list it in our “causes” column. Brush diligently, floss daily and visit the dentist regularly is what we always say! Also be sure to check with your dentist about mouth washes, as most contain alcohol which can cause mouth dryness and bad breath.
Things You Can Do to Fight Bad Breath
Now that we’ve discussed what causes bad breath, you should have a good idea of what you can cut back on or cut out of your daily life completely. But outside of what you should not do on a daily basis, here are a few things you can try to cut down on your bad breath.
Brush Your Teeth & Tongue Twice a Day (& Floss) – Not only do you want to brush your teeth, but brushing your tongue can also help eliminate harmful bacteria. Flossing can help to eliminate food that may be stuck between your teeth and starting to decompose in the mouth.
Gargle And Rinse With Peroxide – We discussed earlier that normal mouth wash generally uses alcohol as an ingredient. Instead of using normal mouth rinses, try gargling and rinsing with hydrogen peroxide.
Drink Lots of Water – Drinking lots of water can help alleviate dry mouth and keep the body hydrated. Producing saliva in healthy amounts is key to controlling bacteria in the mouth.
Eat Yogurt – Yogurt is said to promote healthy bacteria in the gut. If your bad breath is stemming from dietary intake, maintaining a proper level of healthy bacteria in the stomach is great for fighting bad breath internally.
Sip Green Tea – Green tea is said to have antibacterial compounds which should help both the mouth and gut fight unhealthy bacteria.
Chew Mint, Parsley, Basil or Cilantro – To immediately mask the bad breath, try chewing on some fresh mint leaves to freshen breath. Most chewing gum generally contains sugars and sweeteners which will again promote bacteria and other halitosis causing agents.
In case the above information was not quite what you are looking for, here are also some other resources you can check out to help you fight your bad breath:
Web MD: “Don’t Let Bad Breath Trouble Your Pretty Smile”
Medicinenet.com: “Get the Facts About Causes & Home Remedies”
You may also find our article on the causes of tooth discoloration helpful, as many of the causes are quite similar.
Visit a Kalamazoo Dentist to Help With Bad Breath
And the last thing we want to mention is to make sure to keep up with your dentist appointments! We also hope you found the article helpful and informative, but we are here to answer any further questions you might have. Please feel free to refer to our Kalamazoo team at Lindenwoods Dental with any specifics.