Tips on How to Prevent Bad Breath “Halitosis” – Pharm G.
About 30% of people have daytime bad breath or halitosis. There are various ways to prevent it.
Bad breath or halitosis is “a noticeable and unpleasant odor in the breath.” It can be embarrassing, and often hard to recognize because it’s very hard to smell your own breath.
Causes of bad breath
Most of the time bad breath is caused when food collects and then gets trapped between the teeth and the tongue. The food that’s stuck breaks down and releases bacteria. The bacteria then release a sulfur gas, which smells bad. Bad breath can also be caused by bacteria trapped in the sinus passages of the nose when a person has a sinus infection.
Other causes include:
- Eating certain food such as garlic
- Dry mouth (when the saliva flow decreases) which can be caused by certain medicines or breathing with your mouth open
- Nasal (nose) infections or problems affecting nasal airflow or mucus production
- Problems with your digestive system
It’s normal to have bad breath after you wake up. This is because there’s very little saliva (or spit) flowing through your mouth while you’re sleeping, which is when bacteria are most active. Your breath should improve after you brush your teeth and tongue, floss your teeth, and finish with mouth wash (if you choose).
How one can tell if they have bad breath
It’s hard to check your own breath. Even breathing into your hand and trying to smell your breath doesn’t work. Your best bet is to ask someone you’re close to. Ask them if they’ve noticed that you have bad breath. If they say yes, ask them if it’s when you eat certain foods or whether it’s all the time. Then try the tips below and check back with the person to see if it’s made a difference.
Ways to prevent bad breath include:
- Brushing of the teeth with a fluoride toothpaste for at least 2 minutes after breakfast and before bed or (after every meal if you can).
- Brush your tongue (with a plastic tongue cleaner or tooth brush) especially the back of your tongue- where the bacteria that cause bad breath live.
- Gargle with mouthwash at bedtime. Although mouthwash is a temporary solution, it can be helpful. Ask your dentist or look for a mouthwash that has a seal from the American Dental Association.
- Floss every day. Flossing gets food particles and bacteria that your toothbrush cannot reach. If you don’t know how to floss, ask your dentist to show you.
- Don’t smoke or take tobacco. Smoking causes bad breath and may lead to gum disease. Smoking and chewing tobacco also puts you at risk for getting oral cancer.
- Drink less coffee and alcohol
- Chew sugarless gum (for about 5 minutes or less) if you can’t brush right after a meal. This can help to clear away food particles left behind after eating.
- Eat foods high in fiber contents such as whole grains, raw fruits, and veggies.
- Staying hydrated helps to prevent dry mouth which can contribute to bad breath.
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