You’re about to lean in for a kiss when you’re suddenly self-conscious. What if that garlicky sauce you had for dinner comes back to haunt you? What if the other person turns and walks away in disgust?
Or, you might be getting ready for a job interview–and suddenly you start to get worried that the hiring manager is going to smell your morning coffee on your breath.
Bad breath doesn’t just cause social awkwardness. It can also be a sign that something isn’t right with your oral health. If you’re worried about bad breath or you find yourself reaching for a mint or gum all too often, here’s what you need to know.
Figure Out What’s Causing Your Bad Breath
If you’re worried about bad breath, the first thing to do is to figure out what’s behind it. If you only occasionally have to worry about unpleasant breath, it’s likely that the cause is something you ate. Certain foods, such as some spices, onions, and garlic are notorious for making your breath smell.
Sometimes, your habits can change the odor of your breath. For example, if you’re a smoker or you use tobacco products, you might notice that you have a taste in your mouth that might be a sign that your breath isn’t smelling too great. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing gum disease, which is another common cause of bad breath.
The bacteria that builds up around the teeth and gums when you’re dealing with gum disease is usually what contributes to an unpleasant breath odor. It’s also worth noting that not following a regular oral care routine, including brushing twice daily and flossing, can also make your breath smell rank.
Some causes of bad breath might beyond your control. For example, there are medications that can make your mouth dry and a dry mouth tends to be a hospitable environment for odor-causing bacteria. If having a dry mouth makes you uncomfortable or otherwise adversely affects your quality of life, you might want to check in with your doctor to see if there are other medications you can take that won’t dry out your mouth.
An infection in your mouth (that isn’t gum disease) might also lead to bad breath. If you’ve got an infection, you might just have to wait until it clears up and live with bad breath in the meantime.
How to Cope With Bad Breath
Bad breath can be unpleasant and can interfere with your life. But you don’t have to live with it. There are a few things you can do to improve the scent of your breath.
One option is to work with your dentist to develop a plan for oral health and cleanliness. That can involve seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings, learning to properly brush and floss at home, and using an antibacterial mouth rinse to kill any odor-causing bacteria.
If a problem such as gum disease or another infection is to blame for your bad breath, your dentist might recommend a course of treatment to clear away the bacteria and help improve the state of your oral health. Often, follow-up care will include practicing oral hygiene at home.
Can You Prevent Bad Breath in the Future?
Depending on the cause of your bad breath, you might be able to prevent it in the future. If you tend to eat fragrant foods, avoiding those foods can improve your breath. You don’t have to eliminate them from your diet completely. Just learn to avoid them before any professional or social situations where having good-smelling breath is a must.
You can keep bad breath away by keeping your mouth properly hydrated. Drinking water will moisturize your mouth. It will also rinse away bacteria or bits of foods that can cause an unpleasant odor.
Finally, committing to a good oral care routine is a must if you’re going to prevent bad breath. Don’t just brush your teeth, brush your gums and tongue, too, to completely remove food debris, plaque and bacteria from all over your mouth.
To learn more about the connection between bad breath and gum disease, schedule an appointment with a periodontal specialist today. Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a periodontal specialist in the Miami area offering patients custom treatment plans. He can recommend options that work for you and your needs. To schedule an appointment in Miami, FL, call 305-547-8687 today.