Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be an embarrassing sign of poor oral hygiene. Certain foods, medical conditions, and personal-hygiene habits can all cause bad breath. Most of the time, you can combat bad breath by developing and adhering to a proper oral-hygiene routine.
If you suffer from bad breath, it’s important to review your oral-hygiene habits. Although brushing is important, good oral health involves more than simply brushing your teeth each day. To promote healthy oral hygiene, brush your teeth, tongue, and gums with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least twice a day, preferably after every meal and snack. Brushing and flossing removes plaque from the mouth to limit decay and odor, as residual plaque leads to tooth decay, gum disease, and other periodontal conditions. In addition to brushing and flossing, using an antimicrobial or fluoride-based mouth rinse can help combat odor and promote better oral health.
Without an effective oral-hygiene routine, foods and drinks with high amounts of sugar can become lodged in your teeth and cause bad breath. The chemical breakdown of certain foods such as onions, garlic, and strong spices can cause short-term odor in the mouth. Avoiding these pungent foods can often improve bad breath symptoms. Long-term odor, however, is often the result of residual food particles, which form a colorless, sticky film of sulfur-producing bacteria on your teeth. Your tongue can also trap bacteria on its uneven surface and contribute to odor production. Additionally, when dental fixtures like retainers or dentures are not cleaned regularly, they can harbor odor-causing food particles and bacteria. Cleaning all dental fixtures daily is an essential part of combating bad breath.
To prevent or treat bad breath and other symptoms of poor oral health, be sure to schedule regular dental cleanings and exams with your oral healthcare provider. Contact your dentist if you begin to notice persistent bad breath, as he or she can help you develop a personalized oral-health plan to combat odor and ensure an effective oral-hygiene routine.