Part of having the perfect smile is about how it looks, but another part of having the perfect smile is how it smells. While this may sound weird, it makes sense when you consider that scent is the strongest human sense tied to memory. This essentially means that if you have bad breath, people are more likely to remember that over the fact that you have an amazing smile.
Bad breath is unfortunately common with the American Dental Association estimating that it affects 50% of Americans at least once in their lifetime. However, bad breath is also usually somewhat easy to treat and manage. The first step to eliminating your bad breath is to determine what is causing it to begin with. Once you know the cause, you can then take the necessary steps to improve the scent of your breath. While there are many things that can cause bad breath, here are a few of the most common culprits:
Poor Oral Hygiene
The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time and floss daily. If you find yourself skipping out on brushing or flossing regularly, then your bad breath may be due to a lack of adequate oral hygiene. When you don’t brush or floss as much as you are supposed to, this can cause excess bacteria to accumulate on your teeth and tongue. It can also accumulate along the gum line and cause gum disease. Bacteria produces an odor associated with bad breath, and more bacteria means a stronger odor.
The things you eat and drink can also play a role in how your breath smells. This makes sense when you consider the fact that everything you eat or drink passes through your mouth and leaves tiny particles on your tongue and teeth. Generally speaking, foods with a strong taste or smell have the ability to temporarily alter the way your breath smells. Garlic, onions, and coffee tend to produce especially offensive odors. However, bad breath due to diet can usually be managed by brushing your teeth after meals or drinks, as well as using breath mints.
If you are a smoker, then you will need to consider the fact that smoke is regularly passing through your mouth. Cigarette smoke itself does not have a pleasant odor to most people, and this odor will remain in your breath. Additionally, smoking inhibits your body’s ability to produce enough saliva, which can make the odor worse.
When your body is unable to produce enough saliva, this is known as dry mouth. Dry mouth is problematic to your oral health because it prevents the mouth from being able to properly clean itself. This means that bacteria can accumulate easier in a person with dry mouth, which increases the potential for bad breath. If you are affected by dry mouth, the best way to manage this condition is by keeping your mouth as moist as possible by drinking frequently, chewing on gum, or sucking sugarless candies to stimulate saliva production.
Sometimes bad breath can also be due to certain medical conditions. For example, the scent of your breath may be temporarily affected if you have an infection in your nasal passages, tonsils, bronchial tubes, or upper/lower respiratory systems. In these cases, your bad breath will usually disappear once the infection has been treated. In other cases, you may experience chronic bad breath due to diabetes, kidney disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). In these cases, the best way to treat bad breath is to first treat the condition causing it.