We select one dentistry-related question from our Instagram page every Friday and give you our no-BS answers.
Got dentistry-related questions? Ask them away!
Week 2- What causes bad breath? And what can I do about it?
We are living in a time in which we may not have to endure other people’s bad breath because of COVID-19. HOWEVER, we are now required to wear masks at most public places and must endure our own breath behind the mask. How awful!
All joking aside, bad breath, also known as halitosis, is something that bothers many people, and I am not surprised that multiple people posted questions regarding this matter on Comfydent Smile’s Instagram page.
Bad breath can be caused by a lot of things, and most of those causes can be put into two categories:
Causes related to habits
Causes related to health problems
Poor oral hygiene- not flossing frequently, infrequent scraping of your tongue, dentures that are not cleaned often
Digestive issues- Reflux of stomach acids
Food- some foods like garlic cause a foul odor after they are broken down
Infections in the mouth- cavities, periodontal (gum) disease
Dry mouth due to medications
Respiratory issues (nose and throat condition)
As I explained in last week’s post, there are bacteria in everyone’s mouth. Every time you decide not to floss your teeth or use a tongue scraping instrument, you allow bacteria to grow on and between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. Those bacteria lead to bad breath. Listerine and Altoids can only do so much to mask bad breath. I firmly believe that curing your bad breath starts with forming good oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits.
Smoking certainly does not help your cause. Tobacco products over time lead to periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to what dentists call “perio breath.” Perio breath really stinks!
Saliva plays an important role in protecting mouth from bacterial growth/insult. It washes away dead cells and neutralizes acids contained in plaque. Therefore, people who are on many medications and people whose salivary glands have been damaged are likely to have bad breath.
If I determine that your bad breath is due to underlying health conditions (digestive, respiratory, etc.) instead of underlying oral conditions, I most likely will refer you to a physician for evaluation of your digestive and respiratory systems and for appropriate treatment.
These are my recommendations to prevent bad breath (halitosis)
- Brush your teeth twice a day, floss your teeth at least once a day, and use a tongue scraper
- Regular medical and dental visits
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Quit smoking as soon as possible if you are a smoker
- Don’t eat garlic or onion before going on a date.
Products I use at home to prevent bad breath
- Dental Floss
- Tongue scraper
- Electric toothbrush- I change the brush head every 3 months or so
- GLO Eco Balance Gum Formulation– This has been the game changer for me. This product raises the pH inside of your mouth and promotes the growth of good bacteria. This product is available through select GLO dental practices like Comfydent Smiles.