As a dental hygienist, the most common question I hear from my patients is, “How do I get rid of my bad breath?” or “How do I prevent bad breath?” Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by different things, such as:
1. Bacteria. Bacteria is the most common reason for bad breath. Bacteria breed inside your mouth. These micro organisms lurk between your teeth and cover your tongue. When bacteria stagnate, they multiply and give off toxins and stinky odors.
2. Tonsils. The deep holes in your tonsils, called crypts, are a common cause of halitosis. If your tonsils are too wide and pitted, a cheese-like smelly substance collects in these holes. These nuggets sometimes smell, and may cause bad breath.
3. Certain foods. Foods such as onion, garlic, and fish can cause bad breath — even hours after you brush your teeth.
4. Tummy Problems. Sometimes GI problems such as GERD or an ulcer can cause bad breath when you burp and gas is released. Also blame low-carb diets, which cause ketosis, a fat-burning state in the body that produces dragon breath.
5. Bad Habits. Any type of smoking (cigarettes, cigars, pipe) or chewing tobacco can leave you with a really nasty taste — and smell — in your mouth.
Now that we know what causes bad breath, here are some suggestions to help you achieve kissably fresh breath:
1. Brush your teeth — and tongue — twice a day to banish bad breath. While you’re brushing your teeth, brush your tongue – especially the back of the tongue. Brushing your tongue will remove smelly bacteria that cause bad breath.
2. Floss once a day for fresh breath. Flossing is must-do. Flossing gets out hidden food particles and removes plaque. Flossing also helps prevent periodontal disease — another common cause of bad breath.
3. Drink lots of water to avert bad breath. Lack of fluids can lead to dry mouth and cause bad breath. Dry mouth or reduced saliva can be the result of not drinking enough liquids, mouth breathing, or medications like antihistamines.
4. Check your sinuses; infections cause bad breath. Bad breath is often a clue to an underlying sinus infection. Post-nasal drip is most noticeable after sleeping at night, which is why many people rush to brush their teeth first thing in the morning.
5. Chew gum with xylitol to banish bad breath. Chewing gum makes you salivate if your mouth is dry and causing bad breath. Saliva is what washes away the bacteria in your mouth.
6. See your dentist. At least every six months, see Dr. David Lunt for teeth cleaning and an oral exam. Dr. David Lunt can check your mouth and teeth for open cavities and gum disease that cause bad breath.
If these tips don’t work to stop your bad breath, see Dr. David Lunt. Occasionally bad breath is a sign of a more serious problem, such as an infection, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease.
For more information on bad breath and how to treat it, contact Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or visit our website.
Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura, CSUN, Cal State Northridge, and all surrounding areas.