Have you ever been in a situation where people avoid conversations with you because of the bad smell from your mouth? This is not just a social issue. Smelly breath is an indicator of poor dental habits, which can lead to more severe dental problems.
Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by multiple reasons and made worse by unhealthy lifestyle habits, including the food you eat and the way you care for your teeth.
Everything you eat is broken down in your mouth, so the odours stay long after you have finished your meal. It is important to clean the mouth after meals, and brush and floss properly to get rid of residual scraps stuck in the teeth, as these are the leading cause of mouth odour.
Rinsing regularly with a mouthwash can also help wash away the leftover food particles, and leave your breath smelling clean and fresh.
Causes of Mouth Odour
One of the biggest reasons for bad breath is poor dental hygiene. If you do not brush and floss properly, leftover food particles in the mouth start to decay. They emit a foul odour, which turns into the smelly breath.
These particles also help bacteria to grow in the mouth. Bacteria cause decay in the teeth and gums, producing a sulphur compound, which leads to foul mouth odour.
The same bacteria can also cause infections in the gums, and bad breath is one of the first signs of this.
Alternatively, skipping meals can also cause smelly breath, as not eating reduces the production of saliva needed to flush away bacteria from the teeth, tongue, and gums.
Medical conditions like infections in the body, diabetes, kidney failure, or a liver malfunction can also cause bad breath. This can be sorted once the medical issue is taken care of.
Another common cause of bad breath is dry mouth or xerostomia. Dry mouth can be treated in a variety of ways, and your breath will improve then.
What you eat can also affect your breath, as strong foods like garlic and onion can leave your mouth smelling odd. A quick swish of mouthwash will take care of this though.
Other causes of smelly breath include smoking, stress, dieting, age and hormonal changes, and snoring. An odour that comes from the back of your tongue may also indicate postnasal drip.
Bad Breath Symptoms
Fresh clean breath gives you the confidence to speak to people, while mouth odour can be harmful for your social life. It is difficult for you to know how your breath smells, and most people will not be comfortable pointing it out to you.
So how do you know if your breath is smelly? One way is to lick the inside of your wrist, wait five seconds, and then take a whiff. If it smells bad, so does your mouth.
Some of the other common bad breath symptoms include:
- Postnasal drip
- Bitter, metallic taste in the mouth
- White coating on the tongue
- Thick saliva
- Dry mouth symptoms, which include difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Burning sensation in the mouth
- Signs of respiratory tract infections, like fever, sore throat, persistent cough, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck
How to get rid of bad breath?
When speaking to people, fresh and nice-smelling breath can incite a positive reaction, which gives a boost to your confidence. Mouth odour can cause negative reactions, and cause people to avoid talking to you. Taking good care of your teeth and maintaining good oral hygiene will ensure your breath stays fresh and help you have positive social interactions. It also helps you avoid long-term and serious dental issues.
How do you get rid of bad breath naturally?
Brush, floss, and use mouthwash regularly to keep your mouth clean.
An antiseptic mouthwash can help kill off the bacteria, and also wash away the food particles from hard to reach places, leaving your mouth clean.
Don’t forget to scrape the tongue clean. We tend to ignore this organ, but residual food and bacteria on the tongue can cause mouth odour.
Some studies suggest that rinsing the mouth with black tea suppresses the growth of bacteria in dental plaque, and reduces formation and production of acids.
Combat dry mouth by sucking on a piece of sugarless candy. This helps stimulate the saliva glands and keeps the mouth wet.
Make some lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking, and eating healthy to maintain good oral health.
If the cause of smelly breath is internal or medical, you need to get to the root of the problem. Visit a dental professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
How Can You Control Your Bad Breath?
Bad breath, or chronic halitosis, is more common than you think.
But it is also easy to combat. No matter what the cause, bad breath can be controlled with a good dental routine. Even while you are seeking medical treatment for mouth odour, you can still try to keep your breath fresh.
A good dental routine includes:
- Brushing – You must brush your teeth twice a day, for at least two to three minutes, to ensure you are cleaning the teeth properly. You can even brush your teeth after an especially pungent meal, or after you eat or drink anything sweet, to ensure there are no residual food particles in the mouth.
- Floss – Food particles can get caught between the teeth, and a brush cannot always get them out. Flossing helps you remove all the tiny particles from the teeth, so make sure you clean properly, especially at night.
- Clean the tongue – Often ignored in dental care routines, the tongue has many folds and crevices where food can get stuck, and bacteria can grow. Use a tongue scraper to keep it clean.
- Rinse – A good mouthwash can help clean the mouth and teeth in those hard-to-reach places. Anti-septic mouthwashes also help fight bacteria in the mouth, so make sure it is part of your daily routine, twice a day.
- Check-ups – Visit the dentist regularly to ensure your mouth is healthy, and in case there is an issue, you can catch it early on.