Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be embarrassing and in some cases may even cause anxiety. It's no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to fight bad breath. But many of these products are only temporary measures because they don't address the cause of the problem.
Certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath. In many cases, you can improve bad breath with consistent proper dental hygiene. If simple self-care techniques don't solve the problem, see your dentist or physician to be sure a more serious condition isn't causing your bad breath.
Bad Breath- TreatmentTo reduce bad breath, help avoid cavities and lower your risk of gum disease, consistently practice good oral hygiene. Further treatment for bad breath can vary, depending on the cause. If your bad breath is thought to be caused by an underlying health condition, your dentist will likely refer you to your primary care physician. For causes related to oral health, your dentist will work with you to help you better control that condition. Dental measures may include:
Mouth rinses and toothpastes. If your bad breath is due to a buildup of bacteria (plaque) on your teeth, your dentist may recommend a mouth rinse that kills the bacteria. Mouth rinses containing cetylpyridinium chloride and those with chlorhexidine can prevent production of odors that cause bad breath. Your dentist may also recommend a toothpaste that contains an antibacterial agent to kill the bacteria that cause plaque buildup.
Treatment of dental disease. If your dentist discovers that you have gum disease, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist). Gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving deep pockets that accumulate odor-causing bacteria. Sometimes these bacteria can be removed only by professional cleaning. Your dentist might also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Lifestyle Matter so much in bad breath- Brush your teeth after you eat. Keep a toothbrush at work to use after eating.
- Brush using a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals.
- Toothpaste with antibacterial properties has been shown to reduce bad breath odors.
- Floss at least once a day. Proper flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth, helping to control bad breath.
- Brush your tongue. Your tongue harbors bacteria, so carefully brushing it may help reduce odors. People who have a coated tongue from a significant overgrowth of bacteria (from smoking or dry mouth, for example) may benefit from using a tongue scraper. Or use a toothbrush that has a built-in tongue cleaner.
- Clean your dentures or dental appliances. If you wear a bridge or a partial or complete denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist. If you have a dental retainer or mouth guard, clean it each time before you put it in your mouth. Your dentist can recommend the best cleaning product.
- Avoid dry mouth. To keep your mouth moist, avoid tobacco and drink plenty of water — not coffee, soft drinks or alcohol, which can lead to a drier mouth. Chew gum or suck on candy — preferably sugarless — to stimulate saliva. If you have chronic dry mouth, your dentist or physician may prescribe an artificial saliva preparation or an oral medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.
- Adjust your diet. Avoid food and beverages that can cause bad breath. Avoid sticky, sugary foods.
- Regularly get a new toothbrush. Change your toothbrush when it becomes frayed, about every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Schedule regular dental checkups. See your dentist on a regular basis — generally once or twice a year — to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned.