9 ways to treat bad breath
Bad breath can create some socially awkward situations. (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)
Foul-smelling breath can become an embarrassing problem. Mouth odor can lead to awkward social situations, social anxiety and self-consciousness. Fortunately, most cases of halitosis are easily treatable.
The causes of halitosis
Many factors lead to halitosis, and food is the main culprit. Spices and vegetables like garlic and onions stay in the system until eliminated.
Poor oral hygiene also contributes greatly to bad breath. If you don't clean your teeth regularly, food particles remain in your teeth and break down, causing odors. Foods also leaves a film on your teeth, tongue and gums. This film, plaque (or bacteria), grows in your mouth, causing odors.
Smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes and drinking alcohol also give the mouth a bad odor.
Dental problems such as periodontal (gum) disease or cavities also lead to halitosis. People who don't clean their properly may also experience foul odors.
Some medications cause dry mouth, and without saliva present to clean the mouth, odors occur. Some medical conditions account for halitosis: including diabetes, sinus infections, bronchitis and some cancers.
Getting rid of bad breath
Most cases of halitosis are easily treatable. Follow these steps to rid yourself of that foul-smelling mouth:
- After every meal, rinse your mouth out with water to remove food particles.
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily for at least two minutes. For best results, use a toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association.
- When brushing the teeth, don't forget to brush your tongue. Its tiny crevices trap bacteria that lead to halitosis. Tongue scrapers are available for cleaning your tongue.
- Daily flossing removes food particles in your teeth that might cause a foul smell in your mouth.
- Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash freshens your breath and kills bacteria and germs.
- Irrigate your teeth and gum line with a Waterpik or similar device that clean the areas around the teeth where a toothbrush and floss can't reach. If you have an irrigation system, use it a few times a week to improve teeth and gum health.
- Have your dentist teeth professionally clean your teeth twice a year.
- Changes to your lifestyle can also improve the health of your mouth. Quitting smoking or cutting down on alcohol consumption can improve your breath.
- Drinking water every day is essential for health, but it also helps remove food particles, clean your teeth and keep your mouth moist. Try to drink at least eight cups of water or water-based fluids each day.