Nobody wants to have bad breath, which can be embarrassing and anxiety-inducing and make us a little fearful of getting too close when talking to someone. When we know that our mouth isn’t quite as fresh as we’d like it to be, many of us are happy to pop a mint or chew on a piece of minty gum. But bad breath is more complex than many people think, and, in many cases, gum from the corner store won’t cut the mustard.
However, though a mint won’t fix the bad breath issue, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Bad breath treatment is available for all levels of severity, so whether you’re just mildly concerned about the smell or it’s having a severely detrimental impact on your life, there’ll be something that you can do.
On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about bad breath, including the causes, the diagnosis process, and what you can do to make your breath feel and smell fresh again.
About Bad Breath
Bad breath is also called halitosis and affects somewhere in the region of 25% of the population. There are plenty of causes of bad breath, as we’ll see below, but in most cases, the issue comes down to oral hygiene. If your mouth isn’t as clean as it could be, then it’ll be more likely to have an odour. But that problem is relatively easy to remove, just by making a few changes.
If you’re concerned that you have bad breath, then take action. In this day and age, it’s simply not a problem that you need to live with. In the process of improving your breath, you’ll also benefit from the other effects of good dental hygiene, too.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Understanding the cause of halitosis is the first step toward fixing the problem. So what causes bad breath? Let’s take a look at some of the leading contenders. Note that in some cases, the cause of bad breath will be a combination of the following causes rather than just one isolated cause.
Poor Dental Hygiene
It’s important to maintain daily dental hygiene practices. Brushing and flossing are designed to remove small food particles that can get stuck between teeth while eating. If a person isn’t brushing and flossing twice a day, then it’s more likely that these particles will accumulate and then break down, resulting in bad breath. Brushing also removes plaque, a film of bacteria that can lead to periodontitis, an inflammation of the area around the teeth and gums.
You probably already know that onions and garlic can cause bad breath! They impact the mouth in a slightly different way. After they have been digested in the stomach, elements of the food are carried into the bloodstream towards the lungs, where they affect the air that you exhale and thus impact the breath. Though onions and garlic are the most well-known causes of bad breath, there are plenty of foods that offend, including cheese, tuna, and coffee.
And, of course, all food can impact the breath if a person isn’t regularly brushing and flossing.
Bad breath may also be a symptom of an infection and illness, especially those that affect the chest areas. It’s common for people to experience a degree of bad breath when they have post nasal drip, for instance. Other medical conditions that cause bad breath include pneumonia and bronchitis, sinus infections, chronic acid reflux, and diabetes.
Smoking tobacco can result in bad breath in various ways. For one thing, it has its own unpleasant aroma; everyone knows when they’re walking past a smoker because of the smell of the person’s clothes. Smoking has the same impact on the mouth. It also causes bad breath because it dries out the mouth and, over a long-time period, causes gum disease. Finally, smoking can reduce a person’s ability to smell or taste, which means that the person may be unaware that they have bad breath.
Medications that reduce the production of saliva can cause bad breath. Other drugs produce side effect chemicals in the body that can also cause halitosis. The most common medications that produce this effect include nitrates used for the treatment of angina and various tranquillisers. Vitamin supplements can also cause halitosis, though they usually have to be taken in large doses to do so.
A crash diet is a rapid weight loss method that severely restricts the intake of calories on a short-term basis. This can cause ketones, a chemical produced during the breakdown of body fats, which tend to have a strong smell.
How to Diagnose Bad Breath
Nobody wants to have bad breath. The issue is that knowing whether you have it or not can be difficult. After all, bad breath tends to be something that other people around us experience, as opposed to something that we experience ourselves. For the unknowing, there’s no obvious downside. It’s a bit like snoring in this regard.
However, if you do have bad breath, then you’ll want to know about it. It can, after all, impact various aspects of our lives, most notably our social and romantic relationships.
There are various methods for determining whether you have bad breath or at least have a suspicion. For instance, you’ll know when your mouth feels fresh and when it doesn’t. After a deep clean, you can be reasonably sure that your breath is fine. If your mouth feels a little off, then your breath probably is too.
Another method is to ask a trusted friend or partner. It’s a bit awkward, but if they’re a good friend, then they’ll tell you the truth.
The most reliable method is to work with an oral health company that specialises in bad breath, such as BreezeCare. We offer two types of consultation: a “Full Breath Consultation” and a “Halicheck Consultation”. Make your appointment today, and you’ll soon know whether you should seek bad breath treatment!
Bad Breath Treatment
So far, we’ve run through all the causes of bad breath. But what about the solutions? Learning that you have bad breath can be a bit of a blow, but it’s far from the end of the world. After all, in this day and age, there are plenty of treatment options available. None of the options that we’ll outline below is overly complicated, either; indeed, most of them just require minor lifestyle adjustments.
Brushing your teeth helps to prevent the buildup of bacteria and remove plaque from the surface of your teeth, both of which can cause bad breath. So while it’s sometimes tempting to skip brushing, it’s something that you should make a part of your regular schedule!
How much a part of your regular schedule? It’s best to brush for at least two minutes, twice a day; most people brush in the morning after they’ve had their breakfast and at night before they go to bed. It’s less important whether you’re using an electric or manual brush and more important that you’re brushing regularly. However, you don’t need to brush too often. In fact, brushing too much can cause problems. You may also want to brush your teeth after lunch, but there’ll be no need to brush more than three times a day.
Looking for a high-quality toothpaste that’ll help you to maintain excellent oral hygiene? Check out our Bad Breath Kit.
Brushing your teeth will get rid of a lot of the food that’s stuck in your mouth, but it won’t get rid of all the food. And this is especially true if you’re using a regular toothbrush, which is a little less thorough than an electric toothbrush. To get rid of the rest, look at flossing. It’ll add a little more time to your oral hygiene routine, but it’ll be worth it.
Round off your oral health routine with a splash of mouthwash. This can help to make your mouth feel extra clean after brushing/flossing and can also kill bacteria. However, it’s important to choose the right mouthwash; some just cover up the smell rather than killing the bacteria that produces the smell in the first place.
Look at investing in a quality mouthwash, such as the range that we offer here at BreezeCare.
Clean Your Tongue
Most people only focus on their teeth when they brush. But your teeth are not the only part of your mouth! Your tongue can also host bacteria that can lead to bad breath. The solution? Brush your tongue.
You can use the main head of your toothbrush for this, but for the best results, look at using a toothbrush that comes with a tongue scraper or invests in a tongue scraper specifically. They’re recommended because they gently scrape the whole tongue, which means more food debris and bacteria are removed.
Avoid Garlic and Onions
You probably can’t avoid (or don’t want to avoid) eating garlic and onions at all times. But if you’re concerned about having bad breath before you meet with friends, avoid eating them. As we mentioned earlier, garlic and onions cause bad breath by releasing chemicals inside your body that find their way to your lungs, which means you’ll have bad breath when you breathe out. Because the smell comes from inside your body, brushing and mouthwash won’t get rid of the smell -- though they will mask the scent if you can’t avoid eating garlic and onions.
People that stop smoking will receive so many benefits. Their skin will be better; they’ll have more energy, and, yes, they’ll have better breath. Smoking causes bad breath because, first of all, the smell is quite intense anyway. But it’ll also seriously dry your mouth out, and that’s another big cause of breath issues.
Of course, stopping smoking isn’t easy for everyone. But it’s very much possible, especially if you use nicotine-replacement products. Once you’ve stopped, you’ll notice that your breath begins to improve even within a few days. Plus, you’ll have a better sense of smell, making it more likely that you’ll notice when your breath isn’t as fresh as it could be.
Studies have shown that a dry mouth can cause bad breath, so it’s important to keep your mouth hydrated. And the best way to do that is to drink plenty of water. You should aim for at least eight glasses of water a day, though if you have issues with a dry mouth (for instance, you take medication that dries your mouth out), then you should drink more. If you avoid drinking water because you don’t like the taste, look at adding a slice of lemon or some cucumber.
And talking of lemon: a glass of warm water and lemon juice can be an excellent way to freshen your breath since it helps to produce saliva. Just be sure to avoid brushing your teeth in the hours after drinking it due to the acidity of the lemon.
While specially-formulated products are best for eliminating bad breath, if you don’t have those products yet and you’re looking for a quick solution, you can also try one of the many home remedies for which there is anecdotal evidence of success. Pineapple juice and parsley, for example, may help to keep your mouth fresh. Yoghurt, milk, apples, and green tea have also been cited as home products that will work.
Remember: There’s Always a Solution
It’s not comfortable living with bad breath, in large part because it makes us anxious about how we come across to other people. But it’s rarely a condition that we have to just live with. By taking some steps, you can make your bad breath issue a thing of the past.
If you’re looking for some help to put your halitosis behind you, check out our excellent range of bad breath treatment options. From toothpastes to mouthwashes and in-person appointments, we’re leaders in the battle to overcome bad breath once and for all.