Stinky Breath

The last thing you want is someone telling you that you have bad breath!  The problem is, many times we have bad breath and have no way of knowing it.  The “bad breath” comment can make you feel very self-conscious.  On a more positive note, at least someone was brave enough to tell you, so that you can do something about it!  The first step towards fresh breath is determining the source of your problem.

Most cases of bad breath (halitosis) can be easily treated.   We can start from the basics by considering what you put in your mouth.  Smoking, drinking alcohol, tea, coffee, and eating foods containing onion and garlic are all triggers of bad breath.

If one of these temporary triggers doesn’t sound like you, the bad breath is most likely being caused by the bacteria in your mouth.  Begin by having your teeth professionally cleaned.  Hygienists have special techniques and instruments to remove heavy tartar and plaque from the teeth that cannot be cleaned with a toothbrush.  After you are back to a clean slate, work to maintain good oral hygiene with a brush, rinse, and floss combination.  More specifically, you should be brushing at least 2x/day, flossing 1x/day, and rinsing with an antibacterial mouth rinse 1x/day.  While you brush your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue.  Your tongue is filled with lots of grooves that catch food and bacteria.

In addition to working on oral hygiene, keeping a wet or damp environment in your mouth helps with bad breath.  Our saliva actually works to help wash bacteria away, so when we have dry mouth, we have more bacteria building up in the oral cavity.  Drink a lot of water to maintain a moist intraoral environment, especially if you are a mouth breather.  To understand the effects of dry mouth, all you have to do is think morning breath—stinky!

We’ve touched on all of the easy fixes for stinky breath, but in some cases bad breath is being caused by an intraoral infection.  If you have any pus from an infection draining into the mouth, you better believe you’ll have bad breath!  Your dentist will have to evaluate the infected area and determine the best treatment for it.

Less common causes of bad breath may be related to your systemic health.  Stomach problems, respiratory problems, diabetes, and liver disease can contribute to bad breath.  You should see your medical doctor if you have any concerns related to these problems.

Hopefully this will help all of you to kiss your loved ones stink free!!  Remember, this blog is not a substitute for seeing your dental or medical provider.  If you have concerns related to bad breath, please make an appointment so that your bad breath can be properly diagnosed.