It is very common for dental patients to be concerned with whether or not they have bad breath. Even for the dental professional, bringing up the topic with a patient is a very sensitive subject. Several factors affect the way a person’s breath smells, and it’s something that everyone wants to be sure that they manage. Bad breath can affect your personal and professional life, not to mention make you feel uncomfortable around other people.
Certain foods can cause bad breath, such as garlic or foods that contain sugar, which feed oral bacteria. Avoiding these foods will prevent odor or excess bacteria that would contribute to bad breath.
Other causes of bad breath include infections in the head and neck. These include sinus infections, allergies, nasal drainage, gingivitis, periodontal disease, decay or abscess, prescription medications and reflux disease. Managing these conditions will help eliminate the bacteria in the mouth or esophagus that causes breath malodor.
The majority of bad breath bacteria are found on the surface of your tongue, so oral hygiene is the primary treatment when it comes to treating and preventing bad breath. It is estimated that up to 90% of the bacteria that cause bad breath reside on the surface of your tongue. You can gently clean your tongue with a soft bristled toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Tongue scrapers are easy to clean and will amaze you at the amount of bacteria that they remove. Be careful not to be too aggressive with tongue cleaners as you may damage the delicate papilla on your tongue.
Seeing your hygienist regularly for dental cleanings to remove accumulated tartar or plaque deposits also helps you to manage odorous oral bacteria. Avoid alcohol-containing mouth rinses as these may dry your mouth out further and alter the natural flora of your mouth.
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