Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is not only unflattering, but it can also be an indication of a more serious dental issue.
There are many factors that contribute to bad breath including:
- Certain foods and medicines
- Dry mouth
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
However, provided your condition is not a result of a more serious issue, it is possible to beat bad breath and restore your confidence. In fact, the following text will explain what causes bad breath as well as the simple steps you can do to help prevent it.
What Causes Bad Breath?
The oral cavity is filled with natural bacteria that aid in the process of digestion by breaking down the proteins in the foods we eat, such as dairy and meat. However, as the bacteria perform their function, they unleash vaporous sulphur compounds, which creates an unpleasant odour in the mouth .
Furthermore, as the bacteria feast on the food proteins in your mouth, they also begin to reproduce. Hence, the more they spread and become more active, the more it will increase the foul smell in your mouth.
Because the bacteria in your mouth recur naturally, there is no way to completely eliminate them; however, there are some simple steps you can take to help manage the odour associated with their process.
Take Care After Consuming Foods High in Sulphur Compounds
As stated previously, high protein foods, such as meat and dairy, can cause your breath to smell as oral bacteria breaks down their protein. Therefore, when consuming foods containing protein, it is important to consume lots of water or chew sugar-free gum afterwards to help cleanse any food remnants from your mouth. Or, you could also brush your teeth after consuming such foods to help prevent bad breath.
Meanwhile, some ingredients, such as chives, onions, leeks, garlic, and even some vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, actually contain sulphur compounds, which in themselves produce an odour in the mouth.
These sulphur compounds also have an adhesive property, so the smell can remain on your breath long after consuming them. Therefore, chew sugar-free gum or brush your teeth following the consumption of sulfuric foods to help neutralise the compounds’ effect on the breath.
Treat Yourself to Water Frequently
Sipping on water frequently throughout the day provides many benefits, including helping increase saliva production.
Saliva provides many important roles for the mouth, including helping prevent food particles from lingering on your teeth and gums that can provide quite the feast for bacteria to feed on and helps wash away odour-causing bacteria, which helps keep your breath fresh. It also defends against bacteria that cause tooth decay, counteracts plaque acids, and helps with the remineralisation of the tooth enamel .
On the other hand, decreased saliva production creates a dry mouth, thus, creating the perfect environment for odour-causing bacteria to thrive, which in turn can lead to bad breath . Therefore, be sure to treat yourself to water throughout the day to help keep your mouth moist and avoid foul breath.
Brush Your Teeth Properly
Poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of bad breath. Neglecting to brush your teeth using the proper brushing techniques, or not brushing your teeth often enough, allows food particles to remain in your mouth where it contributes to plaque buildup, which causes unpleasant breath.
So be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day using the proper brushing techniques to avoid leaving traces of food behind where it can lead to excessive plaque accumulation, which is the leading cause of gingivitis.
Clean Your Tongue
Regular brushing and flossing help get rid of bacteria on your teeth and gums; however, your tongue can also be a breeding ground for bacteria . In fact, a clear sign that your tongue contains bacteria is if it is white. When bacteria and food remains are left to linger on the tongue, it eventually develops a thin, white coating that can cause bad breath.
Therefore, be sure to clean your tongue, using a scraper or your toothbrush and some toothpaste, at least once a day to help keep your tongue clean. However, be sure to use gentle pressure when cleaning your tongue to prevent injuring it.
Even with regular brushing, food particles can still remain in between the teeth and in the gum line, which if left to fester can cause bad breath . If left untreated, the bacteria from the decaying food particles can build up and eventually cause an infection, which can then travel down into the jawbone where it can cause tooth loss.
Therefore, be sure to floss at least once a day to remove food remains from your teeth that can not only cause bad breath but also jeopardise your oral health.
Eating hard fruits and vegetables, like celery, carrots, and apple helps brush away food particles and odour-causing bacteria from the teeth, which can lead to bad breath . Therefore, try snacking on fresh, crunchy vegetables and fruits between meals to help keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh.
Visit Your Dentist Biannually
Even with excellent dental habits, stubborn bacteria could still be lurking, which if left to thrive can lead to serious dental issues that can prevent you from enjoying your own beautiful, natural teeth for life. However, visiting your dentist at least twice a year helps him or her identify early signs of tooth decay, cavities, periodontal disease, and more, which can cause significant harm to your teeth.
The dentist will also perform a professional cleaning that is specifically designed to remove hard, stuck-on plaque that is difficult to brush away yourself at home for a cleaner, healthier mouth.
Your dentist may also recommend you eliminate bad habits, such as smoking, which can not only cause bad breath but also lead to gum disease and oral cancer .
If you suffer from bad breath, you are not alone; in fact, everyone will experience it at one time or another in their life. However, you don’t have to live with it. Simply incorporate these tips to help prevent bad breath, which can rob you of your confidence.
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