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Preventing and Treating Bad Breath

Role of Oral Hygiene in Preventing & Treating Bad Breath

Most bad breath is caused by poor basic oral hygiene. A twice-daily routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash prevents odor-causing bacteria from taking hold in the mouth. When food particles aren’t properly removed, bacteria forms on the teeth, gums, and tongue. This can cause bad breath, and it will worsen as the bacteria continue to grow. So staying diligent with a good oral regimen is the best remedy for conventional bad breath.

Don’t be shy to ask your dentist about treating bad breath. The problem can be dealt with very easily, or you may find out that deeper problems are present. However, it may be hard to know until you check with an oral healthcare professional.

Establish a Daily Oral Healthcare Routine

The best treatment for bad breath addresses the root of the problem. Most bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene—not being diligent enough in the removal of bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria left alone builds on itself and intensifies embarrassing odors. So a twice-daily routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash like LISTERINE® will prevent most forms of bad breath. Make sure to brush your tongue, too.

Regular checkups with your dentist are another easy way to help prevent bad breath. At least twice a year, receiving a professional cleaning and examination can offset the buildup of odor-causing bacteria. Follow the dentist’s instructions carefully; take note of the foods and drink you consume and use tools like a tongue scraper for extra effectiveness in removing residual food debris and bacteria.

Being prepared and aware of the causes of bad breath, however, is the best way to avoid any embarrassing odors. Something as simple as brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash twice daily can prevent bacteria from getting the chance to coalesce and cause bad breath, gingivitis, or more serious oral health issues.

Improve Your Lifestyle

There are many simple ways to prevent bad breath, and unsurprisingly, they all focus on paying attention to what goes into your mouth. Avoiding certain things and making a point to include others can make all the difference.

Water

Drinking lots of water can improve your chances at avoiding bad breath. Foul odors are caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, bacteria that is typically dealt with by your own mouth and its saliva glands. If you don’t hydrate enough, your saliva production will decline, leading to a dry environment conducive to bacteria growth. Drinking plenty of water can ensure that your mouth stays moist and clean.

Foods

Components from food that you eat are absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the lungs, where their residual odor then comes out of your mouth with every breath you take. So the foods you eat will affect how your breath smells. Eat plenty of vegetables and herbs, while avoiding foods that contribute to bad breath like those high in sugar or with particularly potent flavor.

Chewing Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum can also help treat bad breath, as it activates and helps saliva production in the mouth. With an increase in saliva, odor-causing bacteria has a harder time clumping together, and hence won’t cause bad breath as much. Be careful not to chew gum or mints with sugar, as sugar is a main culprit of bacteria growth in the mouth.

Sugar

Also, reducing your intake of high sugar drinks like soda or certain juices can also help bad breath, as sugar only exacerbates the conditions where odor-causing bacteria grows.

Alcohol & Coffee

Alcohol and coffee are especially problematic when it comes to bad breath, so some basic treatment can go a long way in stemming any odors that occur after indulging in your favorite drink. After a cup of coffee or glass of wine, try rinsing with an antiseptic rinse like LISTERINE® mouthwash or using a portable breath freshener like LISTERINE® POCKETPAKS® strips. Rinsing twice daily with LISTERINE® mouthwash as part of your brushing and flossing routine is very effective at removing excess food debris, as well as keeping bacteria from forming on the gums.

Stop Smoking and Chewing Tobacco

Getting rid of bad breath for those who smoke or chew tobacco will most likely entail quitting their bad habits. Aside from more serious oral health issues like gum disease, bone loss, and oral cancer, smoking or chewing tobacco causes bad breath. Removing it from your life will almost certainly improve the freshness of your breath.

Oral Infections

Treating any oral infection you have will almost always improve the freshness of your breath, as infections create the perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to thrive. See a dentist and follow their instructions carefully.

Colds, Head Colds, or Sinus Infections

Sinus infections can also lead to bad breath, as the sinuses and mouth are closely related. If you are experiencing post-nasal drip due to a cold or sinus issue, bacteria can build up and cause foul odors to enter the mouth. If you believe your bad breath is the result of a sinus infection, enlarged tonsils, or post-nasal drip, it could be time to call medical professional.

Get Checked for Underlying Health Problems

If you believe your bad breath is not temporary but more of a deeper, chronic condition, it may be from an underlying health problem. The following illnesses may be the source of embarrassing breath:

  • Acid reflux
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Periodontitis
  • Oral and Sinus infections
  • Digestive issues
  • Various kinds of cancer

Talk to Your Dental Healthcare Professional

If you have taken steps to improve your oral care routine and you are still experiencing persistent bad breath or halitosis, you should schedule an appointment and discuss the issue with your dentist or hygienist. To help diagnose the underlying cause of your bad breath, your dentist may ask you about when you first began to experience the chronic bad breath and how often you brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash. Your dentist may also ask about medications or supplements that you may take, whether or not you snore, and also conduct an exam to check for other oral health conditions.

Choose Your Solution For Bad Breath:

All LISTERINE® mouthwashes kill bad-breath germs and freshen breath to get your whole mouth clean.