Nobody really wants to have bad breath (halitosis), but it's kinda hard to tell if you have it unless a brave family member or friend tells you. Here's one thing to try: Take a clean finger and scrape saliva off the back of your tongue. Rub in on your the back of your hand, wait a minute, then smell your hand. What do you think? Bad breath is kind of a sensitive subject, but is a concern for lots of people. So here are some of the causes for halitosis.
- The bacteria in your mouth. These micro organisms lurk between your teeth and cover your tongue. When bacteria stagnate they multiply and give off toxins and stinky odors.
- Say "Ahhhh". The deep holes in your tonsils, called crypts, are a common source of bad breath. If your tonsils are wide and pitted, a cheese-like, smelly substance collects in these holes leading to halitosis.
- Pungent foods. Foods like onion, garlic and fish can cause bad breath -- even hours after you brush.
- Tobacco. Any type of smoking (cigarettes, cigars, pipe) or chewing tobacco can leave a really nasty taste -- and smell -- in your mouth.
- Tummy troubles. Sometimes gastrointestinal problems such as GERD or an ulcer can bad breath when you burp and gas is released. You might also blame low-carb diets, which cause ketosis, a fat-burning state in the body that produces dragon breath.
And now for the CURES
- Brush your teeth -- and tongue -- twice a day
- Floss once a day
- Gargle with hydrogen peroxide -- the oxygen in it will kill the mouth bacteria that cause bad breath
- Use a fluoride mouth rinse for sweeter breath
- Drink lots of water -- a lack of fluids can lead to a dry mouth and cause bad breath. The water and the saliva it stimulates will wash away some of the bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Reduce upset stomach. Over-the-counter antacids may ease a sour or acidic stomach which can lead to halitosis when you burp.
- Check your sinuses; infections can cause bad breath
- Eat yogurt for sweeter breath -- yogurt replenishes the good bacteria in your gut and promotes a healthier mouth
- Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gum makes you salivate and that saliva is what helps wash away those bacteria in your mouth.
- See you dentist and hygienist regularly. At least every six months, see your hygienist for a profesisonal cleaning and see your dentist for an oral exam.