Some people think they’re stuck with it. Also called halitosis, bad breath can be embarrassing and cause a lot of social anxiety. It can bring down our confidence levels. If you think about it in a superficial way - about the symptoms - you won't get to the root cause of why you are experiencing it.
85% of bad breath cases are a result of oral conditions. Think of bad breath as a way your mouth communicates with you. It’s letting you know that it’s being swarmed with bacteria, and having trouble keeping itself clean without your help. The bad odor is usually a result of the millions of little bacteria excreting smelly compounds while feasting on food and dead cell particles in your mouth. If you’re keeping up with your oral health care on a regular basis, your breath odor will become less noticeable.
A lot of patients tend to think that the minty freshness of their toothpaste and mouthwash is what will fight their bad breath. Toothpaste and mouthwash are just band-aid solutions and don’t actually clean away all the bad bacteria that is the cause of the bad breath.
A good first line of defence against bad breath is to drink water after you eat. This will clear away food particles so stinky bacteria can't grow.The bacteria that collects under the gums contributes to bad breath too. Brushing alone will not get to this bacteria. Don’t believe it? Brush your teeth. Wait for 15 minutes, then floss. Smell the floss… you will smell that same bad breath odor!
Another hotspot in your mouth for bacteria is your tongue. Since your tongue is made up of a bunch of tiny little hair-like structures (called papillae), there is lots of room for bacteria to hide out. Using a tongue scraper is a great way to clean your tongue, which can be bought at your local drug store alongside other oral health products. Tip: a spoon can work as a tongue scraper too!
There are other reasons that your breath may bad. For example, smoking and drinking alcohol make your mouth dry, which in turn causes bad breath. Saliva is key to keeping your mouth clean, so a lack of it will result in more bacteria - so more odor. Sleeping with your mouth open could also result in a dry mouth. So - drink water! Lots of it!
Having regular dental hygiene appointments will help too. Your dental hygienist will scrape off all the hardened on bacteria (plaque and tartar) which contributes to bad breath. Have your dentist check for cavities too. Cavities can hold in food particles and stinky bacteria. Getting them filled will give food and bacteria less places to hide out!
If you are still noticing a bad odor coming from your mouth after keeping up with your oral health care routine at home, you may want to book in to see a hygienist for a cleaning. Your hygienist will be able to help you diagnose the problem, and find a treatment specific to you.