Sometimes, bad breath is the result of respiratory or gastrointestinal problem. Sometimes, it’s due to a health condition, like diabetes. Usually, however, bad breath persists because poor hygiene has allowed bacteria to overwhelm your mouth and release volatile sulfur compounds that taint your breath as it passes through your mouth. If your bad breath doesn’t bother you under normal circumstances (and it really should), then perhaps Valentine’s Day being right around the corner is motivation enough to bring your breath under control.
Do’s and Don’ts of Breath Control
DO—Brush and floss your teeth often. The ADA recommends brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once, preferably before bedtime. Whenever possible, you should also brush your teeth after a eating, when your mouth’s germs feast on the nutrients from your meal. Be sure to brush your tongue, as well, where bad breath bacteria are fond of gathering.
DON’T—rely on breath mints and chewing gum. They may mask foul odors temporarily, but they won’t eliminate them, and your bad breath can still linger noticeably underneath the minty fragrance.
DO—eat breakfast every day, if you don’t already. When you sleep, your saliva flow dries up, and bacteria gather faster than ever. Eating breakfast before brushing your teeth in the morning kick-starts your saliva production, helping you eliminate more bacteria with your toothbrush and floss.
DON’T—eat strong foods, like onion and garlic, on the day of your big date. Unlike bacteria-induced bad breath, odors from your food are digested into the bloodstream, then exhaled through your lungs. Your garlicky breath won’t go away, and may be stronger than your mints can hide, until it’s completely out of your system.
DO—drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated promotes a steady, healthy flow of saliva, your mouth’s natural defense against oral bacteria and plaque buildup. Also, use water to rinse your mouth after eating if you can’t brush your teeth.
DON’T—over-indulge in sugary or acidic drinks. When your mouth becomes acidic, bacteria can flourish, increasing your risk of bad breath and other dental health issues. Save the tastier beverages for larger meals, and sip water alternately to help neutralize the acid.
About Your Austin Dentist:
Since 1985, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen has been providing expert cosmetic and restorative dentistry services to patients and families in Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next dental consultation, call our office today at (512) 448-3131.