Smelly Breath, Smelly Breath—It’s Not Your Fault!
Did you know that suffering from bad breath has a medical name? It’s called “halitosis” and it affects almost one in three people. No, bad breath itself won’t make you sick, but it can be a sign of more harmful dental health issues. And it can make you feel self-conscious.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to cure your bad breath but it’s still not working, don’t be discouraged. There’s a solution out there for you! Read below to find out more.
What Causes Bad Breath?
- Gum disease
- Bacteria-filled plaque
- Inconsistent hygiene
- Mouth breathing
- Cavities or infection
- Tobacco products
- Odorous food
- Dry mouth
- Dental appliances
Mask Mouth Is Real
During the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing masks has become an important tool for protecting ourselves and others. One unfortunate outcome of wearing a mask for an extended time is bad breath.
- Dry mouth. Since your mouth is covered, you may be drinking less water than usual. This can lead to dry mouth, increasing your risk of bad breath.
- Gum disease. Wearing a mask and breathing recycled air can increase your oral microbiome’s acidity, which might put you at risk for bad-breath-causing infections or gum disease.
To avoid mask mouth, stay diligent about your oral hygiene care! We also recommend that you continue to drink lots of water and regularly replace or clean your mask to prevent bacterial growth.
How Do You Know If Your Breath Smells Bad?
It’s challenging to smell your own breath and know for sure whether you have halitosis. This inability to accurately assess the smell of your breath is referred to as the “bad breath paradox.” This leads to many people who don’t think they have bad breath thinking they don’t (and vice versa!)
Visiting your dentist and keeping up on your routine six-month dental hygiene visit is the best way to diagnose bad breath. But here are a few tricks to assess your breath at home, too:
- Ask a trusted friend or family member!
- Lick the inside of your wrist and smell it (It may sound odd, but the smell of your breath on the skin is easier for your nose to pick up.)
- Purchase a halimeter test to measure your volatile sulfur compound (VSC) level — above 100 often indicates bad breath.
Tips For Preventing Bad Breath
- Brush your teeth at least 2x a day for 2 minutes and floss daily
- See your dentist as instructed for routine preventive care
- Avoid cigarettes and tobacco products
- Stay hydrated and keep your mouth moist
- Don’t rely on sugary breath mints or chewing gum
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth—during the day and while sleeping
How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath Permanently
The best treatment for bad breath depends on the cause. For example, since gum disease is one of the primary causes of bad breath, a treatment plan may include deep cleanings or laser bacterial reduction treatments. We might also recommend an oral appliance to encourage nose breathing vs mouth breathing at night. Or, you may benefit from treatment to address cavities and infection-causing decay.
It’s important to work with a trusted dentist to create a plan that’s best for you and your situation. To determine the cause of your bad breath, we invite you to schedule an appointment at our office in Escondido, CA today!