Researchers estimate that around 80 million Americans suffer from halitosis, or bad breath. That’s about 1 in 4 Americans. And the reality is, everyone suffers from bad breath at some point in the day, simply because the environment in our mouths is constantly changing. The question is: How can you stop bad breath before it becomes an embarrassing social issue?
What are the Causes of Bad Breath?
As you go throughout your day eating, drinking, and breathing, the oral cavity is alive and active. Saliva helps soften food and clean the oral cavity. Enzymes start the digestive process. And bacteria form as a result of the initial digestive process. The primary cause of bad breath is a buildup of bacteria that releases noxious odors or gasses. Oral diseases such as gum disease or untreated cavities can also lead to chronic bad breath.
Studies suggest that 80% of bad breath comes from oral hygiene and dental health. So simply keeping the mouth clean should produce better smelling breath. Other causes of bad breath can include acid reflux or issues arising in the stomach. Or internal medical conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections and chronic bronchitis
5 Ways You Can Stop Bad Breath in its Tracks
1. Brush Twice a Day and Floss Once
As Dentists, this minimum brushing and flossing guideline is our gold standard for preventing any type of unwanted oral condition or disease. That’s because brushing and flossing remove food debris and plaque before they can begin damaging the teeth and gums. And as we mentioned above, harmful bacteria produced through the eating process are the primary source of bad breath. If you are among those who struggle with chronic halitosis, try brushing 20 minutes after every meal and use toothpaste that contains baking soda.
2. Brush or Scrape Your Tongue
Ridding the mouth of odor-causing bacteria often requires addressing the tongue. The tongue can be a breeding ground for these unwanted, microscopic organisms that cover the surface of the tongue and cause it to look more white than pink. Scraping or brushing your tongue after you brush your teeth or in between meals will go a long way in mitigating bad breath.
3. Hydrate Regularly
Many Americans don’t drink enough water to stay sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. When it comes to your oral cavity, water is an essential ingredient to healthy saliva production. It also helps to flush leftover food debris and bacteria from the mouth. A dry mouth is a mouth that is more prone to bad breath.
4. Chew on a Piece of Xylitol Gum
Chewing mint-flavored xylitol gum has the benefit of a minty-fresh smell and can also reduce the presence of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar that, unlike other sugars, is indigestible by bacteria. Most sugars break down and feed harmful bacteria. Those bacteria then produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel. So chewing xylitol gum that does not feed bacteria means fewer bacteria, and as a result, a more balanced PH, healthier, stronger teeth and a fresher smelling mouth.
5. Visit The Dentist Twice a Year
If you have good oral hygiene and healthy gums and teeth, the minimum number of visits you should be making to your local dentist is two each year, for your biannual cleanings. These visits not only give your teeth a professional cleaning that will leave your smile bright and brilliant, but they are also an opportunity for your dentist to check for any possible developments of oral infection or disease. If you have great oral health and you’re still suffering from bad breath, your dentist can help you identify other possible sources that could be causing your halitosis.
If you live in Flagstaff Arizona and you’re struggling with chronic halitosis or have more questions about how to stop bad breath, schedule an appointment with us today. At Country Club Dental our team is dedicated to providing you with services that result in a smile you can be proud of.