How do I get rid of bad breath?

The best way to reduce halitosis, also known as bad breath, is with a consistent practice of good oral hygiene. Not only can this help reduce bad breath, it can also help protect you against gum disease and cavities. Beyond regular, conscientious oral health care, your dentist can determine any other reasons for bad breath. If your dentist believes your halitosis is caused by an underlying condition, you will be referred to your general practitioner for further examination. If the cause of your breath is related only to your oral health, however, your dentist may offer ways that you can help control the condition. If an excessive accumulation of plaque and bacteria is causing your bad breath, your dentist can recommend antibacterial toothpastes and mouth rinses that can kill the bacteria that lead to plaque buildup. If you have gum disease, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in gums. Gum disease can cause the gums to loosen and retract from the teeth, which leaves deep pockets between the gums and teeth. These pockets fill with bacteria, and it is these bacteria that cause a foul odor. Regular professional cleaning may remove the malodorous bacteria. These bacteria might also appear in defective tooth restorations, which can be cleaned and repaired or replaced.

To help keep bad breath at bay, be sure to brush your teeth after you eat. If you work away from home, keep a toothbrush at work so you can brush after eating. Otherwise, be sure to brush at least twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste, and, if your dentist recommends it, use an antibacterial toothpaste, which can help reduce halitosis. Flossing, at least once a day, can help control halitosis by removing plaque and other debris from between the teeth. Additionally, carefully brushing the tongue during routine oral hygiene may reduce bad breath. Your tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria, and this bacterial growth may proliferate in certain people. For example, if you have a chronic dry mouth or are a cigarette smoker, your tongue may be coated with a visibly substantial bacterial overgrowth. In these cases, a tongue scraper can reduce the odor-causing bacterial buildup that coats the tongue.

If you have a denture or dental bridge, make sure to clean it as directed by your dentist. If you wear a mouth guard or dental retainer, clean it before putting it in your mouth each time. Your dentist will recommend the right cleaning product for you to use for your specific dental appliances. Try to keep your mouth from becoming excessively dry by avoiding tobacco and drinking water throughout the day; soft drinks, coffee, tea, and alcohol can cause a dry mouth. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy can stimulate the salivary glands and moisten the mouth. If you have chronic dry mouth that is not relieved by changing habits, your doctor or dentist may prescribe a medication that stimulates salivary flow, or a topical preparation of artificial saliva. Eating very pungent foods, like raw onions or garlic, may lead to bad breath that is worse in some people than in others. Eating too many sugary foods may also cause bad breath.

If your toothbrush’s bristles have begun to fray at the edges, which usually happens around every three months, replace it with a new soft-bristled toothbrush, and see your dentist every six months for an examination and professional cleaning of your teeth or dentures. If regular healthy habits and oral health practices don’t seem to affect your halitosis, be sure to consult your dentist and your primary care provider to address any possible underlying conditions.

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