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Bad Breath: What Causes it and How Can I Fix It?

If you have ever worried about having bad breath, this post is for you. Also known as halitosis, bad breath is extremely common in adults – in fact, 1 in 4 adults experience it. Before you start to worry, halitosis is a little more chronic than just morning breath. The real concern is if your halitosis is chronic and doesn’t resolve after brushing, flossing, and using a mouth rinse. 

What Causes Bad Breath? 

The number one culprit is the bacteria that live in our mouths. Tiny microbes feed on food particles and dead cells. The unpleasant odor comes from the sulfur compounds that are left behind by the microbes. This probably isn’t something you want to think about, but it is important to know what’s causing bad breath in order to deal with it.

How to Check if You Have Bad Breath  

You can always ask a trusted friend or family member, but that might not be the route that you’re comfortable taking. If you’d prefer to perform this task solo, keep reading.  

The oldest trick in the book: hover your hand over your mouth and exhale. Quickly smell the lingering odor in your hand and you be the judge of how it smells. You can also smell your floss after its use, or use a cotton swab to dab at your tongue. There are plenty of simple methods that can work here! 

Preventing Bad Breath 

Proper Oral Health. Of course, our number one tip is preventive care – brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Make sure to keep your tongue clean as well. You can do this by using a tongue scraper or if you don’t have one, use a toothbrush or a spoon.

Don’t Rely on Mouthwash. Mouthwash only masks bad breath for the short term, and can actually make halitosis worse in the long run. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol. When used, the alcohol will dry out your mouth tissue, causing less saliva production, in turn making your halitosis worse.

Proper Diet. Even when following proper dental hygiene habits, you may still experience bad breath. The culprit here is likely your diet. Here are some foods to stay away from and others that actually help to prevent halitosis from occurring: 

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol

For fresher breath, try incorporating foods like: 

  • Sugarless gum
  • Yogurt
  • Water
  • Herbs and spices (including parsley, cloves, anise, and fennel seeds)

If you’re still struggling with chronic halitosis after trying these methods, contact the Southlake Family Dentistry team. We are here to help with all of your oral health needs!