For sure, one of the most embarrassing oral problems is bad breath or halitosis. In fact, it has been established that one in four people are regular victims of bad breath. While there are products like mints and mouthwashes that address the problem, none of them can handle the root causes behind it. The main causes behind it are specific foods, health conditions, and habits. Halitosis can also be temporary, arising from some particular food or drinks. These include items like onions, garlic, alcohol, coffee, or tobacco. In most cases, due to poor dental hygiene, food particles can remain stuck in the mouth and enhance the growth of odor-producing bacteria.
When the condition persists for extended periods, it can be a sign of some serious form of oral disorder. In some cases, dehydration or dryness of mouth that reduces the production of saliva can also cause bad breath. Other major causes are tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, or the formation of abscesses in the mouth. Apart from that, an infection of the sinus or in the tonsils can also lead to halitosis. It can also occur in patients suffering from liver or kidney-related diseases and uncontrolled diabetes. However, such cases also involve other symptoms apart from bad breath.
What are the most common causes of bad breath?
In a word: bacteria. Millions of these microorganisms (some of which are harmful, and some helpful) coat the lining of the mouth and the tongue. They thrive on tiny food particles, remnants of dead skin cells, and other material. When they aren’t kept under control with good oral hygiene — or when they begin multiplying in inaccessible areas, like the back of the tongue or under the gums — they may start releasing the smells of decaying matter.
Here other issues can also contribute to bad breath :
- An overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth cavity resulting from inadequate tongue cleaning
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum disease/gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Unclean dentures
- Oral abscesses
- Post nasal drip, colds, flu and other illnesses
- Dry mouth caused by mouth breathing, fasting, prolonged talking, stress and some medications
- Tobacco smoking
How can you tell if your breath stinks?
It is very likely that you’ll experience mild bad breath on occasion, given how common the causes are. If you have concerns about chronic bad breath or halitosis, try asking a loved one or schedule an appointment with your dentist.
- Ask Someone You Trust – Requesting that someone evaluate the condition of your breath is an easy solution, but one of the most difficult answers to get. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your breath, ask someone you’re close with to just take a peek at the inside of your mouth. He or she may notice a white coating on the back of your tongue, which is often a sign of an odorous bacteria, according to the Better Health Channel. If you’re concerned it may be a chronic issue – or are too embarrassed to ask a friend – you can always ask your dentist.
- Try the Sniff Test – If you don’t feel comfortable breathing in someone’s face to find out whether or not your breath stinks, there is one other thing you can do: Lick your wrist, then wait 10 seconds. If the area you licked smells bad, chances are, so does your breath. This works because you’re depositing all that gross-smelling gunk on your tongue (a large contributor to bad breath) directly onto the skin, where it gives you an uninhibited whiff of your breath.
How do I get rid of bad breath? How do I get my breath to stop smelling?
- Brush teeth twice a day – Brush your teeth two to three minutes at least twice a day to remove plaque and food debris. It’s very important to brush your teeth before going to bed.
- Floss daily – Flossing will remove food debris from in between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. If the food debris is not removed, the bacteria will begin to feed on it, causing bad breath.
- Brush or scrape your tongue – To remove any residue that may be building up between the taste buds and folds in the tongue
- Use a mouth rinse – Keep in mind that if a dental problem is the cause of chronic bad breath, a mouth rinse will only mask the odor and not cure it. In some cases, mouth rinses may actually worsen a bad breath problem by irritating oral tissue. For an emergency freshen-up, try a quick rinse with a mix of water and a few drops of peppermint oil. Or rinse your mouth with black or green tea:
- Visit your dentist – The best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene is to visit your dentist regularly. If you have chronic bad breath, you should visit your dentist first, to rule out any dental problems. Or, if your dentist believes that the problem is caused from a systemic (internal) source such as an infection, he or she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.
- Quit smoking and avoid tobacco products – If you ever needed another reason to quit, here’s an easy one: smoking contributes to bad breath. Tobacco tends to dry out your mouth and can leave an unpleasant smell that lingers even after brushing your teeth.
- Wet your whistle – Be sure to drink a sufficient amount of water (six to eight 8-ounce glasses) daily to avoid dry mouth. Drinking water will help keep odor under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath.
- Eat a piece of sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum. – Sucking on a piece of sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva flow. The saliva will help to wash away food debris and bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Munch on a carrot, a stick of celery or an apple. – Snacks of crispy, fresh fruits and vegetables step up your saliva flow between meals to help wash away bacteria from teeth, tongue and gums that can cause bad breath. These snacks can also help alleviate bad breath caused by hunger or fasting. An empty stomach from skipping meals can cause foul breath as acids in the stomach build up.
7 Bad Breath Home Remedy Treatments:
Home remedies do not replace a visit to the dentist, but they will keep your breath fresh until the underlying problem gets taken care of.
- Water – As mentioned above, dry mouth can make your breath stink. If you notice an odor, drink a glass of water. You should drink about a half-gallon of water each day to avoid dehydration. If you lose count, sip water throughout the day, before feeling thirsty. This should help keep your mouth moist and your breath palatable.
- Clean Your Tongue – Bits of food, dead cells, and bacteria tend to build upon the tongue. You’ll sometimes see the buildup as a goopy, white coating towards the back of the tongue. Removing it will significantly help with the smell.
- Lower Protein Intake – During digestion, the body breaks down proteins with ammonia. The more protein you eat, the higher the amount of ammonia used during this process. If you eat a high protein diet, you’ll produce too much ammonia. You’ll notice that your breath smells similar to urine or fish.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda is basic. Bacteria that cause tooth decay can make your mouth acidic, which makes it smell. Bases and acids produce smells. But when the bicarbonate from the baking soda mixes with the bacteria’s acid, it makes it neutral, and therefore, odorless. Measure a cup of warm water and add 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Swish while you hum the entire “Happy Birthday” song, and then spit. This is how to stop bad breath until you see your dentist. If you do this regularly, you may also notice a desirable side effect of this remedy. Baking soda whitens teeth!
- Herbs – Fresh herbs smell amazing. So it’s no wonder they can help eliminate stinky breath. Ball up a clean sprig and chew on it when your breath starts to smell. Some of the best herbs for halitosis include spearmint, peppermint, parsley, basil, thyme, and cilantro.
- Spices – Spices also offer naturally pleasant aromatic properties. They may help reduce smelly breath at more than just the surface level though.
- Destress Yourself – Destress Yourself – Sure, bad breath can make you feel stressed. But can stress actually cause bad breath? Stress actually can contribute to dragon breath. People under chronic stress tend to suffer from gum disease more and often eat less, and both of these things lead to halitosis. So you need to destress yourself.