Here's a topic that makes many of us uncomfortable. We've all had those awkward moments where we are in close contact with someone, whether it be a co-worker or significant other, who's breath is nothing short of offensive.
Should you tell the person there is an issue? Should you walk away? Maybe you quietly slip them a stick of gum?
Most of the time, bad breath is just the consequence of eating certain foods like garlic or onions. This short-term situation is easily resolved by brushing your teeth after meals and using a good mouth rinse.
If you really indulged, you may even need to top off with a mint or that stick of gum.
However, there are other situations in which the solution is not so simple. Bad breath can also be caused by issues in your mouth or even other parts of your body.
The bacteria in your mouth from untreated cavities, a tooth infection (teeth needing a root canal), improper removal of plaque, or even untreated gum disease can cause a foul odor in your mouth.
For proper plaque removal, remember to use an electric toothbrush to clean your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day before bedtime.
Your tongue is also a big trapper of plaque and odor-causing bacteria, so I strongly recommend a tongue scraper.
Breath Rx is the one I prefer and it is sold exclusively at Walgreens.
Rinsing with a good full-strength mouthwash, like Listerine, twice a day for 30 seconds will also keep bacteria, and therefore odor, at bay.
Sometimes mouth odor doesn't actually have anything to do with your mouth at all. There are numerous things that could be going on in your body that produce bacteria. A simple virus or cold, inflamed tonsils or adenoids, G.I. issues like acid reflux or an infection internally with various other organs can all be the cause.
A sinus infection, specifically clogged sinuses, also can cause a particular odor. Dry mouth, which sometimes can be caused by over-the-counter or prescribed medications, is another factor. Likewise, diabetes has been known to produce a fruity sweet scent as part of the disease.
Lastly, dehydration is a common cause of bad breath. When your body doesn't get enough fluids, things become really concentrated and acidic in your body, which can cause an unpleasant odor.
If you notice your friends and family making a hasty retreat when you approach or when your significant other seems to turn the other cheek, you may want to find out if your breath is the culprit.
If basic good oral hygiene doesn't resolve the issue, it's time to pay a visit to your dental care provider to see if there is something going on in your mouth that needs attention. If your dentist doesn't see any issues, he/she may recommend a trip to your M.D.
Halitosis, or bad breath, is only normal if it is short term. If this is an on-going problem, you need to determine the cause and have it treated.
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