Morning breath is a common occurrence, but all-day stink mouth isn't something you should accept as the norm. Even if garlic and onions are on your daily menu, there could be other reasons your mouth reeks. Dr. Margaret Mitchell, DDS, founder of Chicago-based Mitchell Dental Spa, says you don't have to live with bad breath and shares her top tips to get your breath smelling fresh as the prince of Bel Air!
Bad Habits in the Dental Department
"You would be amazed at how many people don't brush their teeth before bed," says Margaret Mitchell, DDS, owner and director of the Mitchell Dental Spa in Chicago. "Many people only brush about once a day and then only for about 10 seconds." And that’s just not going to cut it.
Actually, you should be brushing at least twice a day, cleaning between your teeth, and brushing or scraping your tongue. Those rotting food particles left on your tongue and between your teeth not only cause bad breath, they can also lead to more serious oral conditions such as plaque and gum disease.
Untreated Tooth Conditions
Got dental issues? "Almost any dental problem can lead to an unpleasant odor,” warns Dr. Mitchell. “Partially erupted wisdom teeth can trap food and be hard to clean. A dead tooth can cause an abscess that drains into the mouth." And that’s not all — gum disease is a major cause of a bad taste in the mouth and bad breath, and and this can happen so gradually that you may not be aware of the odor.
"Saliva cleanses food debris and bacteria out of the mouth," Mitchell explains. "If your mouth is too dry, plaque tends to build up and you get into many dental health problems that contribute to bad breath."
Want to bust bad breath due to dry mouth? Drink plenty of clear fluids and swish your mouth out with water after meals if you can't brush, she advises. Dry mouth is an oral condition that can be caused by breathing, medications, and salivary gland disease.
Smoker's breath is bad enough, but cigarettes actually contribute to bad breath in a number of ways. "If you think about how bad smoking is for your lungs, imagine how bad it is for your mouth," warns Mitchell. "Your mouth is the first place the smoke hits, and it can do lots of damage by choking off its blood supply."
Smoking's contributions to bad breath include dry mouth and gum disease, and it can also increase your risk of oral and sinus infections. If you are struggling to quit, ask your dentist or doctor about smoking cessation programs and other anti-smoking strategies.
Shop Keeko's range of natural dental care products