A lot of patients ask me about bad breath. Its the worst. Certain people are more prone to bad breath than others. Sadly, I frequently have bad breath but I’ve learned some ways to minimizing it.
First we need to talk about the causes of bad breath! It can be caused by food we eat, poor oral hygiene, tooth decay or infection, or even health problems.
Certain foods, like garlic and onions have strong odors that can persist in the mouth and cause bad breath directly. Other foods which contain simple sugars can be broken down and fuel the normally existing bacteria of the mouth, to create an indirect odor. Its important to determine what kind of foods cause us to have bad breath and avoid them. There is a great deal of variation throughout the population so some trial and error is necessary. Also cutting down on foods high in sugar is important too.
There is a lot of bacteria in our bodies. Some of it is good and is called normal flora. It helps us digest food and usually doesn’t cause any problems. There are more problematic bacteria as well. If we don’t clean our teeth regularly, the bacteria can multiply and cause a lot of problems like tooth decay, periodontal disease and bad breath. So regular brushing and flossing will keep the bacteria counts down and reduce dental problems. Also the tongue can be a haven for bacteria so we need to keep it clean too!
Xerostomia is a fancy way to say dry mouth. As we are living longer and taking more medications, xerostomia is becoming more prevalent. This is because a side effect of many medications is dry mouth. This is a tricky problem because you can’t stop taking your doctor prescribed medication. But there are a few things we can do to keep our mouths hydrated. The first is to drink a lot of water. The other is to use products which are created for just this problem. Biotene is a great product that many of my patients have tried and have had success in combating dry mouth.
Last I want to share two products that I personally use daily. I really like them and recommend them to my patients all the time. I buy them from Amazon because the price is the best but you can buy them at nearly any drug store.
The first is Dr. Tung’s tongue scraper. It is awesome and is dishwasher safe and should last almost forever. I use it several times a week. If you have a few minutes you should read the reviews on amazon. There are a few that are hilarious.
The second is TheraBreath. I use this everyday. It is alcohol free and uses chlorine (ClO2) as its active ingredient. I used Listerine for years but I’ve found this to be much better. I’m a big fan.
Bad breath stinks but with a little knowledge and effort we can minimize its impact on our lives!