We’ve all done that thing where we cup our hand over our mouths and breathe to test the freshness of our breath, right? Well, we hate to break it to you, but that doesn’t actually work to determine our own bad breath. Rather, we must rely on others to tell us. Since it’s a bit of a touchy subject and embarrassing, few people actually tell us when our breath smells.
Halitosis, the medical term for bad breath can be caused by poor oral health. In some instances, odors emitted from the oral cavity may indicate other health issues. It is important when discussing the issue of “bad breath” that we consider more than just embarrassment but other factors.
Twice annual dental check-ups with Dr. Mjahed to identify and address oral health concerns helps to resolve issues with halitosis. In addition to regular brushing, and flossing there are several ways you can fight bad breath at home.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Before we get into the ways you can fight bad breath at home, let’s first take a look at some of the causes of bad breath in the first place.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Regular brushing and flossing prevent food particles from remaining in the mouth that can rot and cause foul odors. Long term poor dental health leads to gingivitis and gum disease, caused by plaque build up on the teeth, also contributing to bad breath.
Garlic notoriously causes bad breath, but what are some others that can contribute to offensive smells? Onions, stinky cheeses, fish, coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods cause all contribute to bad breath due to bacteria growth.
Smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products leaves a lingering foul odor on your breath. Tobacco users are also linked to higher rates of gum disease.
Medications, breathing with an open mouth, or smoking can cause dry mouth. Saliva cleans our mouths by clearing away food particles. When the body does not produce sufficient saliva, bad breath comes as a result.
This is also a common reason for what we know as morning breath since saliva production reduces to a near stop when we sleep.
Several common medical conditions such as sinus infections, colds, the flu, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, tonsillitis, or indigestion can cause bad breath. Respiratory infections especially cause bad breath, due to the draining of mucus within the nose and mouth region.
Bad Breath Home Remedies
Use a Tongue Scraper
Using a tongue scraper after brushing your teeth each morning and night can remove bacteria, fungi, and dead cells that get trapped on your tongue and cause foul odors.
Eat the Right Foods
Seeds like cloves, fennel, and anise are well known to help fight bad breath, due to their antibiotic properties. Simply toss a handful in your mouth and chew for better breath.
Similarly, foods high in chlorophyll, such as parsley, basil, mint, spirulina, and chlorella help neutralize the breath.
Crunchy raw vegetables and fruits can also combat bad breath because they help clean your mouth of food particles that can remain after meals. Consuming more foods like celery, apples, and carrots can sort of act as a natural way of brushing your teeth when you’re away from home by scraping off the plaque buildup on teeth.
Take a Zinc Supplement
Bad breath is often linked to zinc deficiency. Zinc helps stop the buildup of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) attributed to bad breath. Taking a zinc supplement, or using a toothpaste or mouthwash with zinc can help fight bad breath. Increase the amount of foods containing zinc in your diet, like pumpkin seeds, asparagus, and zucchini.
Try Probiotics or Fermented Foods
Your digestive system could be a big factor in your bad breath. Poor gut health can cause constipation and yeast infections, which can result in bad breath. Taking a daily probiotic or digestive enzyme can turn your gut health around.
You can also improve your digestion by eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha.
Rinse with Warm Salt Water
One of the most simple remedies for bad breath, a simple gargle with salt water can reduce bad breath by eliminating bacteria in the throat and mouth.
Drink More Water
Another simple solution to fighting bad breath is to drink more water. Water helps clean the mouth of leftover foods, reduces dry mouth, and increases saliva flow. Drinking water first thing in the morning can reduce morning breath.
If you have concerns over bad breath, give our friendly team at Monroe Family Dentistry a call at 704.776.4278. Dr. Mjahed can help determine if your bad breath is an oral issue or caused by another condition.