Bad breath is common depending on what you’ve recently eaten. However, it is also a sign that tooth decay, gum disease or other oral health issues (like dry mouth) may be happening. The odor of your breath can even signal the underlying cause of bad breath. Here are a few reasons why bad breath happens, how to make small changes in your oral health habits, and easy tips to get fresh breath!
What Causes Bad Breath?
Your bad breath can stem from several different issues going on depending on what you eat and how well you take care of your teeth. Bad breath is caused by bacteria. Studies show that there are between 500 and 700 strains of bacteria that have been identified in the human mouth. Along the gum line and in gingival (gum) pockets are the best places to find bacteria.
Many bacteria are not harmful to you or your mouth. Some are naturally in the body and break down your food for digestion, which is why your saliva is acidic. If it wasn’t, you couldn’t break down your food into fuel for your cells. However, other bacteria are harmful to the body, causing decay, disease, illnesses and more. The best kind are working in your mouth to make sure your saliva is at a stable pH and that your teeth are being mineralized correctly. The more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more you will have later, as mouth bacteria can multiply every few hours.
The more bacteria you have, the more waste is being produced by those types of organisms in your mouth. When the teeth are cleaned often, you’re consistently removing bacteria that leads not only to bad breath but also to tooth decay and gum disease.
If you want fresh breath, also make sure you don’t have dry mouth. Dry mouth happens either from your medications, genetics, from leaving your mouth open or because you are dehydrated. Stay hydrated and seek help for medical dry mouth problems, as your mouth isn’t getting enough hydration or saliva production to move bacteria and plaque out from your teeth and gums.
Start with Oral Hygiene
If you’re not keeping up with brushing and flossing your teeth, or doing these habits as much as you should be, you could end up with bad breath. Try starting out with the basics of oral hygiene and see if you can freshen your breath naturally:
- Brush your teeth every single day, at least twice a day, for two minutes at a time, as recommended by the American Dental Association. Brush your teeth (including your tongue) after every meal to reduce your mouth bacteria even more, making sure to use fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth 1-2 times a day. This is key so that you don’t miss about 40% of your tooth surfaces. Plaque and mouth bacteria loves to hang out in between the teeth and flossing is the best way to get that gunk out. Floss all the way up into the gum line and then gently scrape the teeth as you go.
- Use fluoride products. Most water sources are fluoridated, or enriched with a mineral that helps shield the teeth from decay-causing bacteria. Many dental products have this too. If you need more strengthening than what toothpastes can provide, ask up about fluoride foams and gels.
- Use mouthwash. Many mouthwashes kill decay-causing bacteria and bacteria that will give you bad breath. You can also find many fluoridated mouthwashes to have a clean mouth and fresh breath.
- Visit the dentist at least twice a year for your biannual comprehensive exams and dental cleanings. A dentist can spot the signs of poor oral hygiene or signs of decay. If they detect bad breath, they can suggest ways to get fresh breath and if there is an underlying health issue causing the odor.
Tips for Fresh Breath
We mentioned mouthwash in our oral hygiene tips. This is commonly used to get fresh breath in less than a minute. Mouthwash is a mouth rinse that is used to cleanse the mouth of bacteria. You swish the mouthwash around for about 30-60 seconds, then spit the rinse out. The rinse will cleanse the mouth and a lot of bad bacteria will leave when you spit. Mouthwash is also great for dislodging food that has become stuck in gum tissue or between the teeth.
You never want to ingest mouthwash, as it is a type of antiseptic similar to alcohol. Some mouthwashes even contain alcohol. That’s why you rinse it instead of ingesting it. The whole goal of mouthwash is to kill bacteria that leads to bad breath while giving you fresh breath. If your mouthwash is not working, you may need a therapeutic mouthwash.
There are two types of mouthwashes: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthvrinses are commonly bought over-the-counter at most grocery stores. They are used for cosmetic purposes to give you fresh breath by killing bacteria that cause bad breath. However, these rinses won’t help cure oral health diseases like therapeutic mouthwash can do. This is a special mouthwash that will help kill bacteria that causes bad breath while also helping issues that lead to decay and disease. Generally, your dentist will prescribe this type of mouth rinse to help reduce your plaque production, gingivitis or symptoms of gum disease. Whether the cause of bad breath is the food you’re eating or an oral health issue, your dentist can help you find the mouthwash that is right for you.
Get Fresh Breath Today
Depending on if you just have bad breath from what you ate or if there is an oral health issue, you will get over-the-counter mouthwash for fresh breath or medicated mouthwash to help reduce bacteria and disease that cause odors. If you want fresh breath but your methods have failed, call Evanson DDS at (720) 409-0008 to see what you can do!Leave a reply →