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Bad Breath: Causes and Remedies

Bad breath—also known as halitosis—can be embarrassing, and most people’s go-to solution is to chew a piece of gum or a breath mint. These will only help for a minute or two. Furthermore, these are often high in sugar which will end up making the problem worse. If you persistently have bad breath, you may want to rethink your oral hygiene routine.

Bad Breath Causes

To get rid of bad breath, you must first identify the cause so you can take the proper action, and also ensure that there is not a more serious, underlying problem.

1. Not using proper brushing or flossing techniques

Not properly brushing or flossing your teeth is one of the two main causes of bad breath. Make sure you are using the correct tools when taking care of your oral hygiene. You should be using a soft toothbrush with rounded bristles and switching brushes every two–three months. Also, be sure the toothpaste you are using contains fluoride. As far as floss goes, any kind will work.

Once equipped with the proper tools, you’re ready to go.

When brushing your teeth, make sure you are using circular strokes in a scrubbing motion and getting all surfaces of each tooth. Don’t forget to brush the gum line as well! When flossing, make sure your floss is able to curve around your tooth in a “C” shape. Move the floss back and forth between each tooth to get rid of all the food and bacteria that are stuck there from the day.

Once you’ve got your routine down, repeat twice a day, every day.

2. Not brushing the top of your tongue 

The second biggest cause for bad breath is not brushing the top of your tongue. Your tongue can contain bacteria, sulfurs, and compounds that can cause bad breath. Incorporate brushing the top of your tongue with a toothbrush into your daily oral hygiene routine, and you’ll be sure to notice a big difference.

3. Acid Reflux or Indigestion

A third, but less common cause of persistent bad breath can be acid reflux or indigestion. If you are experiencing indigestion or reflux, make sure to go see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

4. Post nasal drip sinus issues

That’s right, a runny nose could be the cause of your bad breath. If you suffer from allergies or recently had a cold, you may want to go to your doctor to be prescribed the correct medication. That way, not only will you physically feel better, but your breath will smell better too. 

Less common causes

It’s not often, but bad breath can be a sign of a much deeper, underlying issue. If you’ve been able to rule out all other causes, you may need to consult your doctor or dentist for the following issues:

1. Decayed or fractured teeth

This is another reason why you should go for a checkup and cleaning with your dentist every six months. If you have a cavity or a fractured tooth, it will only get worse the longer it goes untreated. Address the problem as soon as you can, because no matter what, you will need to get your teeth either fixed, repaired, treated or even removed in severe cases.

2. Dietary

Any type of ‘smelly’ food, such as garlic or onions, may cause bad breath. A run through your oral hygiene routine will help get rid of the problem.

3. Medical conditions

If you’ve been able to rule out all other causes mentioned above, then your persistent bad breath may be due to a rare medical condition. Conditions such as diabetes, or even cancer can lead to halitosis. If you feel this may be the case for you, it is best to consult your doctor.

Bad Breath Remedies

Never fear, there are several remedies for treating bad breath, and we’ve got them listed for you below.

1. Proper brushing and flossing routine

We can’t say this enough, practice good oral hygiene! Use the techniques we listed earlier, and brush and floss thoroughly, twice a day.

2. Brush your tongue

Make sure to brush the top of that tongue! Every time you brush your teeth, don’t forget about your tongue and all the bacteria collected there over the day. 

3. Drink plenty of water

That’s right! Regularly drinking and sipping water throughout the day has been shown to work just as well as mouthwash. Make sure you’re staying hydrated.

4. Mouthwash

Yes, mouthwash can also help defeat bad breath, but it’s important not to use mouthwash that contains alcohol more than twice a day. Otherwise, it will dry out the soft gum tissues in your mouth, and theoretically, extreme and constant use could cause oral cancer.

Many people struggle with bad breath at some point in their life. As long as you’re practicing proper oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly, you’ll be safe from bad breath. 

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