“Secrets” might be a stretch for some of these tips – after all, it’s pretty well known that things like brushing your teeth after meals will result in better breath.
But, the trick to having really fresh breath is to understand all the causes of less-than-pleasant breath odor for your particular case – and how to handle each one. That’s the secret that few people specifically know for themselves.
In this article, we run down all of the main causes for bad breath and how to address each one, so you can figure out which apply to you and what to start doing about it today.
Bad Breath Causes and Cures
A dry mouth can lead to some of the worst breath and is one of the most common causes. Almost everybody sometimes experiences dry-mouth-induced bad breath, because we all produce less saliva while sleeping and tend to wake up with some degree of “morning breath.” If you sleep with your mouth open, your mouth can get even dryer and stinkier.
- Cure – Saliva contains antibacterial enzymes and helps flush residues from oral tissues. The more, the better. The best way to get more saliva is to drink lots of water throughout the day. A second way is chew gum. And, if any of your medications are causing dry mouth, ask your doctor about alternatives.
Unchecked multiplication of bacteria
Bacteria have foul smelling excretions. Often they establish flourishing colonies on the back of your tongue, but there are many other places for them in your mouth and they don’t care if they stink you up. You can tell people, “it’s not me, it’s the bacteria,” but it probably won’t help.
- Cure – Brush the back of your tongue or use a tongue scraper. Floss daily to remove food residues and to remove bacterial ‘villages’ before they become teeming cities. If you chew gum as recommended above, make it Xylitol gum and make it cinnamon, both of which seem to have some anti-bacterial properties. Rinse vigorously and regularly with an anti-bacterial mouthwash or oral rinse. You can use hydrogen peroxide: it’s not only cheaper, it’s extremely effective.
Trapped food particles that are decaying
- Cure – The cure is mostly the same as for minimizing bacteria. Brush after eating, clean the back of your tongue, floss daily, and rinse often. When you can’t brush, eat crisp vegetables or fruits, like apples or celery. And, when mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide aren’t available, rinsing with a solution of salt and baking soda works great to effectively clean and freshen. Even rinsing with plain salt-water is pretty helpful.
Odorous foods or foods with sulphur compounds
These include foods like garlic, egg-yolk, cheese, and coffee.
- Cure – Obviously, one cure is to not consume these things, but that’s too limiting for most of us. So, to eat these foods and have fresh breath, see the suggestions listed above. Every single one of the above-named remedies will help with food-induced breath odors. In addition, you can chew parsley or basil, or use a commercial chlorophyll product to help neutralize food-based odors.
- Cure – Best cure: Quit. Second best cure: Brush or at least rinse after smoking. Lemon juice or cider vinegar can be effective – but always rinse again with water after putting anything acidic in your mouth. A the very least, chew Xylitol gum, particular a chlorophyll type, or have an apple or other cleansing and freshening crispy fruit or vegetable. All the other tips above, including staying well hydrated, will help, too.
Decaying teeth or other oral tissues
- Cure – Except for parsley, basil or chlorophyll gums that only neutralize odors, all of the tips above will help prevent stink-causing oral decay. It’s never too late to start better habits that will preserve your teeth and give you fresher breath. But, if you have any tooth decay or pain, or inflammation, gaps, pockets or abscesses along the gum-line, you need to see a dentist to put things right again. Don’t skip regular cleanings; unchecked tartar build-up, especially around the gum-tooth interface, can cause permanent damage to both teeth and gums.
Common medical causes of bad breath
These may include a sinus infection or tonsil stones. A sinus infection is smelly, and the odors are released in your breath from post-nasal drip. Tonsil stones are calcified globs that get caught in the folds of your tonsils.
- Cure – Seek professional treatment for recurring sinus problems. You can sometimes prevent or remove tonsil stones yourself with vigorous rinsing, but don’t poke around or scrape in the tonsil area, because if you wound the tissues, you may cause an infection (and more stink). Ask your dentist or ENT if you have chronic problems with tonsil stones.
Less common medical causes of bad breath
These include yeast infections, GI problems, liver problems, diabetes, fasting or low-carb diets, and trimethylaminuria.
- Cure – Bad breath from fasting or low-carb diets will go away once the fast or diet is over. But, if you think any other of these factors may be contributing to bad breath, see a physician as soon as possible.
There are some tips that apply to everybody. Everybody should drink lots of water throughout the day. Better breath is just one benefit. When you drink water, swish it around and from side-to-side to increase the benefits. (As a variation, sipping black or green tea can hydrate and curb bacteria at the same time.)
Please contact us by calling:
(316) 687-2110 or toll-free (877) 687-2110.
We look forward to meeting you.
The Cambridge clinic is located at 2020 N. Webb Road in Wichita, Kansas.