How to Fix Your Bad Breath

person covering their mouth

• Poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, certain health conditions, and impacted wisdom teeth can all cause bad breath. 

• Practicing good oral hygiene, like brushing twice daily and flossing regularly, help prevent bad breath. 

• Staying hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water daily can keep your mouth moist and reduce bad breath. 

• Managing medical conditions like diabetes and liver failure can help reduce bad breath. 

• Avoiding certain foods and beverages, as well as smoking or chewing tobacco, can also help to prevent bad breath. 

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common problem that can significantly impact your life. It can be embarrassing and make it difficult to talk with people. This may also cause social anxiety and even depression. The good news is that although there are various causes of bad breath, there are effective ways to address them.

The Causes of Bad Breath

If you have noticed that your breath smells bad, it is recommended to identify its cause to treat it properly. Generally speaking, the causes of bad breath can be divided into three main categories:

Poor Oral Hygiene

The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Food particles and bacteria can build up on your teeth, gums, and tongue, creating an unpleasant odor. When these food particles and bacteria accumulate, they can produce sulfur compounds that cause bad breath.

Dry Mouth

Having a dry mouth can also lead to bad breath. Saliva helps keep your mouth clean by washing away food particles and bacteria. When your body produces less saliva than normal, it can accumulate these particles and bacteria, leading to foul odors.

Certain Health Conditions

Certain health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, and liver failure can also cause bad breath. This is because these medical conditions can lead to an altered chemistry in the mouth and throat, making it more prone to halitosis. Diabetes causes a decrease in saliva production which leads to bacteria buildup in the mouth. Kidney diseases and liver failures can also cause an accumulation of waste products in the mouth, leading to bad breath.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Another cause of bad breath is impacted wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to erupt in your mouth. They can become impacted when they become stuck in the jawbone or gum tissue, preventing them from erupting properly. This can lead to trapped food particles and bacteria that release sulfur compounds, causing bad breath.

Dental x-ray showing an impacted wisdom tooth

How to Fix Your Bad Breath

Once you’ve identified the cause of your bad breath, various treatments are available to help address it. Here are a few tips on how to fix your bad breath:

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean and healthy is the most reliable approach to stopping and treating bad breath. Here are the basic steps to follow:

  • Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes twice daily.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth.
  • Scrape your tongue gently with a tongue scraper or soft-bristled toothbrush to remove bacteria and debris.
  • Use a mouthwash that contains antibacterial ingredients to help kill bacteria.
  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps keep your mouth moist, which can reduce bad breath by washing away food particles and bacteria. Drinking at least eight glasses of water daily is recommended to help maintain a healthy mouth. Especially if you are practicing sports, stay hydrated to keep your breath fresh.

Manage Your Medical Conditions

For medical conditions such as diabetes and liver failure, it is important to keep them under control. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes, exercise, and medication to help manage your medical condition and its symptoms. Additionally, your doctor may suggest special mouth rinses or toothpaste to help manage bad breath so that it is one less thing to worry about.

A doctor discussing with his patient

Avoid Certain Foods and Beverages

Certain foods and beverages, such as garlic and onions, can cause bad breath. It is recommended to avoid these if possible to prevent bad breath from occurring. If these are unavoidable, brush your teeth and tongue afterward to remove any food particles or odors lingering. Similarly, smoking or chewing tobacco can also lead to unpleasant odors in the mouth.

Have Your Wisdom Tooth Removed

If impacted wisdom teeth cause your bad breath, removing them is the best way to fix it. Your dentist and surgeon can discuss the options for removing your wisdom teeth, such as extraction. Extracting the impacted wisdom teeth will eliminate the trapped food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath.

Once you’ve identified the cause of your bad breath and taken steps to address it, you should start to notice an improvement in the overall odor of your breath. If your bad breath persists after trying these methods, you should visit your dentist and have a full check-up.

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