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Bad Breath: What Causes It and What To Do About It!

Updated: Jan 25

The Hard Truth About Halitosis

Been there, done that.

There are a few universal experiences that *almost* everyone can identify with. Those include waking up on a sunny morning and immediately being in a better mood, needing a sweet treat no matter how full you are from dinner, and unfortunately, having bad breath. Halitosis, or bad breath, is common, and understanding the main factors that lead to it is crucial to correcting the issue.

Open Up!

Your tongue has roughly 90% of the bacteria that causes bad breath, and it is sort of a natural sponge for those bacteria to hold on to. If you open your mouth, say “Ahhh”, and look at your tongue, you will notice tiny dots, known as papilla. As you eat and drink throughout the day, the debris get caught on the papilla. This paired with the already natural bacteria in your mouth tend to get a little smelly, especially when they are left undisturbed on your tongue. How do we combat this? Our hygienists recommend getting a designated tongue scraper or brush, and adding that into your oral hygiene routine. These devices are designed for specifically cleaning the surface of the tongue, ridding it of the odor-causing bacteria.

Prevention is key.

Of course, you know that coming to see us every 6 months (or as recommended) is a huge help in maintaining a healthy smile, but it is also a great way to help keep your breath fresh! Increased plaque and tartar buildup can lead to periodontal (gum) disease, bone loss, and subsequently bad breath. If you have this buildup beneath your gum line, it is unfortunately impossible for you to safely clean the area at home. The good news

is, we can safely and effectively clean your teeth, and provide the resources and education for you to continue proper home care. This means that you will be well on your way to a clean and fresh smile in no time.

Drink up!

Another issue that can have you feeling less than fresh is dry mouth. There could be a number of factors that could cause you to experience this, such as medication usage, dehydration, or something systemic, like sinus issues. Saliva acts as a natural barrier against bad breath bacteria, which is why patients who report dry mouth sometimes experience bad breath. If you use mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine, be sure to check the label. If it lists alcohol as one of the ingredients, you may want to opt for alcohol-free mouthwash to see how that helps your dry mouth symptoms. If you notice that you are struggling with dry mouth frequently, be sure to bring it up to your dentist or doctor.

Extra onions please!

The most common reason you may experience occasional bad breath is from eating certain foods, like onions or garlic. While this may be an unfortunate side effect from eating your lunch, it is something that will go away eventually, and is not a side effect of an underlying issue. Here are some quick tips to keep in your back pocket for the next time you just remembered you have that super important meeting right after you finished your French onion soup.

1. Drink a glass of water! Having a quick glass of water after an especially smelly meal can help rinse away the particles left.

2. Pack a yogurt for dessert! Eating a small, plain yogurt after your meal can help

neutralize the bad breath causing bacteria in your mouth temporarily. For a more

long term solution, consider taking a dental probiotic.

3. Sip on some green tea! Green tea is sort of like nature’s deodorant. The compounds found in it help neutralize the sulfur compounds in your mouth that cause unwanted odor.

4. Enjoy some sugar free gum, mints or use ADA approved breath spray! The mint flavoring added to these options help temporarily cover the smell caused by the bacteria in your mouth. For extra points, look for one that contains xylitol. This helps slow the buildup of bacteria in your mouth.

Ready, Set, Schedule.

Really, we can't wait to meet you! Not sure what you need? We treat the entire family. Yes! Kiddos too! Come in for a check-up or for a teeth cleaning. We can take it from there and evaluate what might be the next step in your dental care. You can schedule by phone (301-863-8822) or by our online portal. See you soon!

Blog by: Emma Raphael, Marketing & Communications

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