Kate's Fear of TMJ

Stop Hiding And Get Rid Of Your Bad Breath

If you're plagued with bad breath, it's time to fight it and not avoid people. Most causes of mouth odor are controllable, once you know the sources. Here are some reasons you may have bad breath and the ways to stop it and get back into society.

The Usual Suspects

Bad breath can be due to materials on your teeth, gums and tongue or digestion problems that make their way up your esophagus such as:

  • eating acidic foods like garlic and onions
  • smoking or using chewing tobacco
  • heartburn, GERD or a stomach ulcer
  • bacteria from poor dental hygiene
  • high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet

Fighting Off Bad Breath

You may need to try more than one of the following fresh-breath habits to get rid of all of the causes of your bad breath:

1. When brushing and flossing, don't forget the tongue and mouth. Brush the top and sides of the tongue and run your brush over all of the soft tissue in your mouth, including the roof of your mouth. Your dentist can show you how to use a tongue cleaner if brushing your tongue triggers your gag reflex.

2. Floss diligently getting between all of your teeth, especially the back molars. Food particles that get lodged between teeth and below the gum line fuel the growth of mouth-odor causing bacteria. If you have trouble getting between teeth, ask your dentist about special floss and devices that make it easier.

3. Eat more foods that reduce the affect of the acidic foods. These include yogurt and celery. Try fresh parsley on food as a garnish or chew a fresh mint leaf after eating.

4. Use a mouthwash that specifically states it has antimicrobial properties so you kill the bacteria in your mouth. Not all mouthwashes have this. Make sure to gargle with the mouthwash to get it back in your mouth, throat and tongue where bacteria like to hide. For severe bad breath, your dentist can give you a prescription for powerful mouthwashes with extra bacteria-killing properties.

5. Drink water throughout the day, even if you drink other beverages. If your mouth becomes dry, a coating of bacteria will appear on the soft tissues in your mouth and produce bad breath.

6. Use antacids or prescription medications to manage your heartburn and acid reflux. When stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the chemicals mix with the bacteria in your mouth causing a foul odor.

7. Use a mint-flavored chewing gum. Chewing gum throughout the day helps keep your mouth moist and fights the bacterial buildup. Choose a minty gum instead of other flavors for the cleanest-smelling breath. Only chew sugarless gum so you don't create any dental problems.

8. Use an antihistamine or other medications to control any sinus issues that cause drainage into your throat and mouth. This material is full of bacteria and when combined with the bacteria already in your mouth, you'll develop bad breath.

Employ several of these tactics to get rid of bad breath. Have gum or sprays on hand and keep a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss in your desk at work. Pay attention to the things that cause your bad breath and with a little effort, you'll feel confident getting into an elevator full of people again.