Do you worry that your breath is not as fresh as you would like it to be? If you do, you are not alone.
Understanding what causes your bad breath, what you can do about it, and why other people may have it and not know is an important first step in managing this normal bodily function.
1. Morning breath is normal
While sleeping, it is normal for your body to slow down and saliva flow to be less. Add in breathing with your mouth open all night and you have the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. By the morning you are left with a naturally stinky mouth. The severity of the smell will vary from person to person and can be affected by different factors but the key thing is to always brush and floss before bed. This will minimize the amount of bacteria present when you start the night.
2. You usually will not know you have it
You may think when you smell another person’s severely bad breath that it isn’t possible they don’t know they have it, but the truth is they very well may not. Our bodies can become used to our own smells and leave us in the dark about our situation. Experts agree, honestly letting someone know about the bad breath is the best thing you can do. It will help you avoid the smell and help them identify a potential problem.
3. Anyone can get it
Bad breath can happen to anyone of any age. It’s common and there are things you can do to treat it, so it’s important if you know you have a problem, to be comfortable talking with your dentist about ways to help.
4. Temporary vs. lasting stink
Bad breath can be broken into two categories. You can have a temporary stink that lingers in the mouth and lungs from things you have eaten (think onions and garlic) and then there is bad breath caused by bacteria in the mouth which is halitosis. Halitosis can range in its severity and may require a doctor’s intervention.
5. Bacteria is often the cause
When the bad breath becomes more frequent or even chronic, the cause may be the amount and type of bacteria present. If you are concerned you will want to talk with your dentist to identify exactly what is happening. It is rare but sometimes halitosis can be caused by gum disease, gastric reflux, sinus drainage, diabetes, tonsil stones, or other oral diseases. Working with your dentist and making appropriate lifestyle changes should help.
6. What you eat matters
Your diet can play a role in helping your bad breath or hurting it. A balanced diet rich with fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein can play a large role in your breath success.
7. Sugar causes it
Sugary foods can be the source of cavities but they can also feed the bacteria that causes the bad breath. Minimizing your sweets will have a variety of positive effects, one of which may be fresher breath.
8. Mouthwash only covers the stink
Using mouthwash as a rinse to remove lingering particles can be helpful in providing temporary fresh breath but it’s important to note that it will only provide a temporary minty fix. In fact, mouthwash made with alcohol can actually end up drying out the mouth eventually which can increase the underlying problem. Brushing two times daily and flossing once per day are the best ways to remove the bacteria from the mouth and give you the best chance to eliminate the problem before it happens.