No one wants to worry about what their breath smells like, especially when at work, meeting a friend, or even on a date! And for some of us, our breath can still feel stale after a solid brushing. Even if you are taking the proper steps to clean your teeth, there are some dental issues can cause bad breath anyway.
Thankfully, most common causes of bad breath come with an easy fix, and if no preventative steps work, your dentist can help you come up with a solution.
Bad Breath and Dental Hygiene
If your breath still smells stale after brushing, you might want to assess your routine. Even if you brush for at least two minutes, two times per day, check that your toothbrush isn’t frayed with age – it should be replaced every three or four months.
Make sure you are also brushing your tongue, as it is a favorite spot for bacteria. You should also be flossing daily, which helps removes some of those particles your toothbrush just can’t reach.
A Change in Your Diet
Big changes to your diet can also be a source of bad breath. For example, if you have recently switched to a low-carb or no-carb diet, then your body is burning more fat. This can result in ketosis, where the body is creating acetone, a fairly pungent compound. Eating a few more carbs, however, can mitigate the problem, along with drinking plenty of fluids and increasing salt intake.
Some foods leave their aroma in our bodies, not just our mouths. Garlic and onions carry sulfur compounds that absorb into your bloodstream, and then are released as you exhale. Other foods and drinks create an optimum environment in the mouth for bacteria growth, like coffee, alcohol, and foods high in sugar.
What to Do When Brushing Isn’t Enough
If brushing and flossing aren’t taking care of the problem, there are several other steps you can take to returning your breath to its regular freshness.
Sugarless gum, when chewed for at least five minutes (and especially right after a meal), can dislodge those more-persistent food particles your toothbrush missed. Some gums also contain xylitol, which impedes bacteria growth. In addition, gum encourages saliva production to naturally rinse your mouth.
Eating foods high in vitamin D can also help with bad breath. Vitamin D helps reduce bacteria in the mouth, and can be found in foods like orange juice, eggs, fortified yogurt and some fish. Yogurt with probiotic bacteria can also reduce sulfide compounds in your body, further fighting bad breath.
When All Else Fails, Talk to Your Dentist
Although some causes of stale breath are easily addressed, bad breath can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Identifying the cause on your own could be more complicated than adjusting your diet – your dentist can examine your situation thoroughly, and help you come up with a plan for addressing your stale breath.