What can you do about bad breath?
Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors. We all know that certain foods, such as garlic, can lead to an unpleasant odor on the breath. This is not just the result of food residue in the mouth, but often comes from the lungs after food is absorbed into the bloodstream. Factors other than pungent food which may contribute to bad breath include:
- Improper dental hygiene leading to bacteria in the mouth
- Improperly cleaned dentures
- Gum (periodontal) disease
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Some medications
In some cases, bad breath can be caused by medical disorders. Medical conditions that may lead to halitosis include local respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, liver or kidney ailments, bronchitis, and gastrointestinal disturbance. If your dentist can find no oral health issues that lead to your bad breath, you may be referred to a physician.
So, how can you combat bad breath? Regular brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent bad breath and to cleanse the mouth of any food residue that may cause halitosis. Mouthwashes are effective for a short while, as are over-the-counter breath fresheners like mints, breath spray, and breath drops. Many people find that chewing on fresh mint leaves or parsley also helps them get rid of bad breath. It is also helpful to drink plenty of water to fight bad breath. If none of these remedies work for you, your dentist may be able to recommend or prescribe specialty products to help alleviate bad breath.
Bad breath, formally known as halitosis, is not just an uncomfortable and embarrassing condition: it may be a sign of a dental health issue or a medical disorder.