Bad breath can be a serious mood killer when you’re on a date, with a study by the Australian Dental Association (ADA) finding that bad breath (along with decayed-looking teeth) to be by far the biggest turn-off on a first date for 83% of people.
Not only this, but oral odours are also capable of crushing your confidence in a bunch of other situations. Whether it’s during that important job interview or a family gathering where people may be in your personal space, the last thing you want to worry about is potential bad breath!
Fortunately, this condition is easily treatable in most cases, so we’ve put together a guide below on the most common causes of bad breath and how to prevent them so you can stress less and feel fresh!
7 most common causes of bad breath
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is usually caused by odorous bacteria on the surface of the tongue or throat, which can be a result of:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking habits
- Dry mouth
- Acid reflux
- Some foods
- Certain medical conditions
- Various medications
How do I know if I have bad breath?
It’s sometimes difficult to be able to tell whether you have bad breath by yourself, so the quickest and easiest way to check if your breath is bad is for someone else to smell it for you. Now, we know what you may be thinking… This may be pushing the boundaries, with a lot of people finding it an awkward question to ask. We don’t blame you! Luckily, if there’s no one around who you’d feel comfortable asking, there are several ways you can check yourself, with the main indicators of bad breath being:
- Tongue surface
- Saliva scent
- Mouth taste
Check your tongue
Take a look at your tongue to see if there’s a white coating over it. This can indicate the presence of bacteria. You can also use a cotton bud to scrape the coating and see how it smells.
Smell the saliva
Lick the back of your hand, wait for it to dry, and then smell the saliva. You can also try flossing your back teeth and then smelling the floss.
If something’s left a bad taste in your mouth, it’s inevitable that it’s left you with bad breath. This is usually a short-term problem caused by powerfully scented food such as garlic, onion or tuna. It can also be due to dry mouth or dehydration.
How to Prevent Bad Breath
Luckily, once you understand the main causes of halitosis, it makes it much easier to figure out how to get rid of your bad breath, with strategies including:
- Proper oral hygiene
- Staying hydrated
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Quitting smoking
- Visiting the dentist
Good oral hygiene
To keep your breath smelling fresh throughout the day, proper oral hygiene is a must. Brush your teeth (preferably with an electric toothbrush) at least twice a day for 2-3 minutes at a time to remove food debris and plaque. Brushing alone isn’t enough, so be sure to follow with flossing and a high-quality mouthwash that kills germs and bacteria. Opt for an extra-strong fluoride toothpaste designed to keep your breath feeling fresh for longer. Also try using a tongue scraper to remove the bacteria on the surface of the tongue. It’s important to replace your toothbrush regularly to prevent bacteria build up as well.
When you apply a high quality dental hygiene routine at home, you can anticipate maintaining a healthy mouth with well-balanced periodontal (gum) tissue, which results in lower risk of contracting decay or unpleasant mouth odour.
A dry mouth becomes increasingly common as we get older. This can cause bad breath due to a lack of saliva which would normally assist in washing away bacteria and food particles. Ensure you drink plenty of water to prevent dry mouth from occurring. Chewing sugar-free gum also helps stimulate saliva production and wash residue off from teeth.
The worst food culprits for bad breath are onion and garlic, because they contain a sticky, sulphur-based compound known as allyl methyl sulphide, which is hard to get rid of and replicates bad breath. High protein foods like fish, meat and dairy can also cause bad breath as the odour-producing bacteria inside the mouth decompose the protein. Ensure you brush your teeth or chew sugar-free gum after eating these, or at least rinse with plenty of water.
Munching on crunchy fresh fruits and veg such as carrots, celery and apples can help scrub the teeth clean from bacteria and keep the bad breath at bay.
Smoking cigarettes can result in a dry mouth and can lead to gum disease and other oral issues. To help overcome these issues, have a chat with your dentist and doctor about quitting, so they can help offer some techniques to help you quit while supporting you in the process.
Visiting the dentist
Unpleasant mouth odour and dental decay are possibly two of the most typical oral health care struggles we encounter at our Gold Coast dental clinics. In the vast majority of cases, both of these oral health care setbacks can be quickly avoided by sticking to an appropriate dental health strategy.
If your breath doesn’t seem to be improving, it’s best to book an appointment with your dentist to ensure you’re practicing good dental hygiene and check for dental problems while carrying out a check-up and clean. For a dental practice on the Gold Coast, contact Oasis Dental Studio today.