Bad Breath — Do You Have It and What Can You Do About It?

  • By StarBrite Dental
  • 18 Nov, 2016

Have you ever smelled a baby’s milky breath? It’s sweet and fresh. Unfortunately for many of us, that’s not always the case with adults! We’ve all experienced someone else’s bad breath. Or maybe a trusted friend told us our own breath needed improvement. But there are those other times when we just weren’t sure. Our mouths felt sour but we couldn’t tell if we were in danger of offending our friends or co-workers. How can you tell if you have bad breath?

Bad Breath Self-Tests

If you’re not with someone you’re comfortable asking (and how many people would we be willing to ask to smell our breath?), try this test instead. Lick your wrist and let it dry for a moment. Then sniff your wrist. That will give you a chance to experience what other people experience.

If you’re at home, you can also run some floss between your back teeth and then smell the floss. Or, if you have a tongue scraper, run it across your tongue and smell any coating it collects. If you don’t have a tongue scraper, gently use a spoon to scrape the back of your tongue. Then smell any of the coating collected on the spoon.

Causes for Bad Breath

Bad breath can also occur after a spicy meal, foods with onion or garlic, or an alcoholic or sugary drink. These smells are usually just temporary and can often be eliminated by brushing your teeth or using mouthwash.

Longer-lasting bad breath is usually the result of an excessive amount of bacteria growing in your mouth. The mouth is a great place for bacteria to multiply. It’s warm and wet and there’s all kinds of nutrients. Bacteria thrive between the teeth, on the tongue and in the back of the throat.

If these bacteria are allowed to remain undisturbed, the smell factor increases. Keeping the bacteria count down involves regular brushing (at least twice daily), flossing thoroughly every day and regular visits to your dentist to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Health Problems Can Also Cause Bad Breath

Any pockets of infection in your gums or teeth – even if they are painless – increase your chances of smelly breath. Of course, smoking or any use of tobacco not only tends to give you bad breath, it increases your risk of gum disease which then increases the likelihood of bad breath even more. Because smoking impairs a smoker’s ability to smell, he may have bad breath and not be aware of it.

Eliminating Sources of Bad Breath

Most of the reasons for bad breath are fairly easy to overcome. There are some chronic health conditions resulting in bad breath that take a little more work to resolve. Chronic sinusitis or bronchitis, diabetes, infection in the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal, liver or kidney problems can all contribute to sour breath. For these, you need to work with your doctor.

If you note that your breath is not ideal, the first place to start is your own schedule of dental care. Make sure you are following your dentist’s recommendations on oral health care. Then make an appointment with your dentist to rule out any infected pockets in your gums or any abscessed teeth.

Consider adding a tongue scraper to your oral care regimen. If you don’t have one, you can use your toothbrush to scrub away any coating. If you have any dentures, make sure you take them out at night and clean them thoroughly. Using a floss threader to clean under bridges will not only reduce your chance of bad breath, it will help your bridge last longer.

By now it should be obvious that you don’t have to resign yourself to bad breath! Take these actions instead and make sure you maintain the dental care schedule recommended by your dentist.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions or discuss your concerns during your next appointment at  StarBrite Dental. Make an appointment by calling  (301) 770-1070 . Or you can fill out the form below.


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