The anxiety is real. You’re deep in conversation with a friend when, out of nowhere, you notice an unsettling smell. Is that your breath? Your flow of thought veers and all you can think of is a fast escape and a hunt for gum, mouthwash, or any remedy for bad breath.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is a problem that we have all experienced at one time or another. 25 to 30 per cent of the world’s population is suffering from this distressing issue. Whether we’re the guilty parties or the victims, it’s a problem most hope to avoid. Fortunately, instead of making embarrassing excuses for foul-smelling breath, there are several ways to prevent and treat halitosis.
1. Maintaining good oral hygiene
Regular teeth brushing along with flossing are the most effective steps you can take to avoid bad breath. Brushing removes plaque, a sticky substance that builds up on your teeth and produces a foul smell. It also removes trapped food from teeth before it decays. Your dentist may also prescribe a mouth rinse or toothpaste containing an antibacterial agent to kill the bacteria that cause plaque build-up.
2. Treating dental problems
Bad breath can be a sign of alarm for dental abscesses, cavities, or advanced gum disease. Bacteria grow in these cavities or gums that release compounds that smell bad. Visiting your dentist and getting all your dental problems sorted can cure bad breath.
3. Cleaning your tongue
The coating that normally forms on your tongue can be a source of smelly bacteria. To remove any residue that can build up between taste buds and folds in the tongue, invest in a tongue scraper that is available easily in drugstores.
4. Avoiding dry mouth
Saliva helps you clean your mouth by washing away food particles and bacteria that cause breath odours. When the production of saliva decreases or ceases, it may lead to halitosis. Drink plenty of water. Try eating healthy foods like carrots and apples that require a lot of chewing. Suck on a piece of sugar-free candy or chew some sugar-free gum. Chewing increases the production of saliva in salivary glands.
5. Adjusting your diet
Avoid foods such as onions, garlic, and sugary foods that may cause bad breath. Low carbohydrate diets can also result in bad breath. Eating a healthy balanced diet can help you fight halitosis.
6. Visiting your doctor
Bad breathing can be a warning sign of the presence of other sicknesses or medical conditions such as respiratory and sinus infections, digestive issues, diabetes, liver, and kidney problems. Certain medications also cause bad breath. Consulting your physician or dentist will help you rule out other causes of halitosis.
Chronic bad breath can be very embarrassing, but most of the time the solution is very simple. Fresh breath is a sign of a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth often represents good overall health.