Would You Like A Mint?
Most people have to deal with bad breath either for themselves or someone close to them. So how do you get rid of bad breath? It helps to understand the cause of the bad breath or halitosis to be able to treat it properly. The most common causes of bad breath are:
Food- Onions and garlic are the most common culprits. Foods such as these absorb into the tissues of the mouth and will only go away after time passes.
Gum disease- This is one of the most common sources for bad breath and is of great concern to the long term health of the mouth. When the gums aren’t healthy they form deep pockets that harbor all sorts of bacteria causing bone loss around the teeth and one of the byproducts is a nasty foul smell. When you can smell someone’s breath from across the room, this is most likely due to gum disease and needs to be treated.
Other infections- Sinus infections, cavities, and mouth sores are examples of conditions that can contribute to bad breath.
Dry mouth- Most likely the most common source for bad breath is due to a dry mouth. This can be from lack of eating and drinking or induced by medications that decrease the amount of saliva. Saliva is always working in the background to minimize foul odors.
Smoking- Not only does the smoke stink, but it dries out the mouth which contributes to gum disease.
Other medical conditions- Some conditions such as chronic acid reflux, diabetes, or cancers can cause bad breath.
Now, as you can see from the various causes of bad breath that not all treatments will work for everyone. As you’ve probably already figured out that mints, gum and rinses such as Listerine or Scope usually only help very mild cases of bad breath or just temporarily mask it. So back to our original question- how can you get rid of bad breath? Here are some helpful tips to try out:
Good oral hygiene- Taking good care of your teeth and gums is one of the best ways to reduce bad breath. This helps to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. One of the best weapons to aid in fighting bad breath is to use an herbal rinse called “Tooth and Gums Tonic”. I don’t like the name ‘tonic’ it sounds so unprofessional, but we’ve been using it with our patients for almost ten years now and have had great results!
Remove source of infection- Having your teeth professionally cleaned by a hygienist regularly will prevent gum disease from progressing or even from getting started. Sinus infections or other infections can usually be treated using antibiotics.
Saliva substitutes- These are found in the toothpaste aisle of the drug store and will help to replenish the missing saliva caused by lack of salivary glands or from side affects of medications.
Stay hydrated- Easiest fix is to keep drinking water (if this is the only cause for bad breath)
Stop Smoking- Easier said than done, but worth it on many levels.
See your dentist and/or doctor- For any conditions that you feel are not adequately treated using these other methods, then consulting with your dentist would be the next step to getting to the bottom of the bad breath. In some rare circumstances it may be necessary to consult with a doctor to check for other medical conditions that may lead to bad breath.