Bad breath or halitosis can have many causes. Often, it is a symptom of an underlying oral health issue such as tooth decay or gum disease. Other times, bad breath can be a sign of poor dental hygiene. Here are ways to prevent it:
A recent study published in the journal General Dentistry found that people who brushed their teeth twice a day were much less likely to experience bad breath than those who only brushed once a day or never brushed at all. That’s because brushing removes food particles and bacteria that cause odors from the mouth. So, if you’re worried about your breath smelling bad after lunch, be sure to brush!
In addition to brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, it’s also important to use proper brushing techniques. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums and gently move the bristles along the gum line in short strokes. Brush the outer surfaces of the teeth using a gentle up-and-down motion, and be sure to brush the tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria. Finally, remember to replace your toothbrush every two to three months or as soon as the bristles are frayed.
Using an antiseptic mouthwash can also help fight bad breath. Just be sure to follow the directions on the bottle. Some mouthwashes recommend rinsing your mouth with water first before applying it to prevent drying out the mouth too much. If you have sensitive teeth, you should speak with a dentist before using mouthwash. They may recommend using a special fluoride rinse to protect and strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent cavities.
Foods that have high acidity or contain sugar can contribute to bad breath because they cause inflammation in the mouth and increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Avoid eating sugary foods, onions, and garlic, as these foods often linger on your breath even after a meal.
Tobacco products, like cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, can lead to bad breath due to their high sugar content. Sugars encourage the growth of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Alcohol also has a drying effect on the mouth, which encourages bacterial growth as well. When combined with dry mouth, both alcohol and tobacco use can make it difficult for someone with halitosis to maintain fresh breath.
The best way to keep bad breath at bay is to visit a dentist for a cleaning. This will give your dentist a chance to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth, which can also cause bad breath. Additionally, having your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year can help prevent cavities and gum disease. Regular cleanings will also give your dentist a chance to examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If you notice your breath smelling worse than usual, be sure to seek help as soon as possible to prevent more severe issues from occurring.
To learn more, get in touch with the dentists at Stonewall Dental by calling (703) 368-1000 or visiting the office at 8719 Stonewall Road, Manassas, VA 20110.