Do you breathe into your hands to find out if you have bad breath? You’re not alone, and there’s good reason why. Up to 50% of people in the US suffer some degree of bad breath – halitosis.
There are many products to help with bad breath and some that temporarily mask it. Knowing the common causes will help you find the most effective breath freshener:
Food and Drink
A common cause of bad breath is the food and drink we consume, but not why you might think. Bad breath isn’t the smell of the food and drink coating the mouth; it comes from digested food and drink entering our bloodstream and recirculating into our lungs, where the odors are exhaled (think garlic).
Poor Oral Hygiene
Food particles left in your mouth may not be the source of the smell, but the bacteria that forms from those leftovers can be. If you don’t clean that bacteria away – like with a toothbrush – it smells bad. And it will lead to tooth decay, gum disease or even infections – all of which can cause bad breath.
Your mouth uses saliva to keep moist and as a cleanser. Without enough saliva a dry mouth will cause bad breath. Some medical conditions and medications cause dry mouth, so talk to your doctor and your dentist if it’s a concern.
Brush and floss. A good oral care routine of brushing your teeth – and your tongue – twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly is important to the quality of your breath (and your oral health!).
Drink plenty of water. Water washes away food debris and keeps your mouth moist. Tap water often contains fluoride, a naturally occurring chemical that helps prevent tooth decay.
Gum, sprays and breath mints provide temporary relief from bad breath by increasing saliva with the added benefit of the smell of the flavoring. Sugar free gum will help dislodge food from your teeth after a meal, while sugar-free mints are an option for someone with jaw soreness TMJ.
Mouthwashes come in a variety of forms that impact your breath in different ways. Antiseptic mouthwash contains alcohol, which kills bacteria but can also dry out your mouth. Fluoride mouthwash strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. Cosmetic mouthwash masks breath odor with flavoring but doesn’t reduce your risk of cavities or gum disease.
Other things you can do:
As it turns out, good oral health is the most effective breath freshener. Who knew? We did, and now you do too!