At our Clackamas dental office, “how do I keep my breath fresh?” is one of the questions we hear most of our patients. While Dr. Suess generally recommends brushing and flossing daily as the best way to ensure your breath stays smelling its best, there are certain habits and activities that can cause some serious dragon breath. While you shouldn’t expect many close encounters after eating a lunch of pickled liverwurst and onions, there are other surprising ways your breath can quickly go from fresh to foul. To keep your breath from smelling like a dumpster on a hot day, here are a few things you may not know could cause bad breath.
While a drink after work makes for a great way to bond with coworker, catch up with friends, or blow off a little stress, that night out could give you more than just a hangover. While alcohol may be a liquid, drinking it can actually dry out your mouth, which creates a perfect environment for the bacteria that causes halitosis, or bad breath, to thrive. It’s not just the booze that gets you either. Splitting a plate of spicy wings, sneaking a cigarette, or rallying with a late espresso can all dry out the mouth. A dry mouth that fails to produce enough saliva at night is one of the primary causes of “morning breath.”
Your Traitorous Tongue
While we all appreciate what the tongue does for us on a daily basis, you might not realize that it can also be the leading cause of bad breath. Your tongue makes a great place for foul smelling bacteria to accumulate. If you don’t take the time to brush your tongue along with your teeth at night, you allow that bacteria to fester overnight. To figure out whether your tongue is the cause of your bad breath, take a quick look in the mirror. If your tongue is any other color that a bright pink, such as white or yellowish, it’s secretly housing bacteria that will funk up your breath.
Diets Low in Carbs
When you eliminate carbs from your diet and boost the amount of protein you consume, your body starts to burn excess fat for energy. That particular process may help to trigger weight loss, but it also causes the body to produce a compound called ketones, which can cause bad breath. Unfortunately, this type of biological process can’t be fixed by brushing or flossing more often. Instead, improving your breath may require stocking up on plenty of sugar-free gum.
As if walking around sniffling, sneezing, and trying to turn off a nose that runs like a faucet isn’t icky enough, a respiratory infection like the flu or a cold can also give you bad breath. That’s due to the fact that odor causing bacteria loves to feed on something even more disgusting – your mucus. Compounding the problem, if you have a cold you’re more likely to breathe out of your mouth, increasing the risk of dry mouth. Just one more reason why you should stay at home when sick.
Americans take more prescription medications now than ever before. While they can offer many benefits for keeping us healthy, more than 400 types of medications that treat everything from depression to arthritis can cause dry mouth as a side effect. If you experience persistent dry mouth, you should talk with your doctor or mention it to Dr. Suess during your next visit to our Clackamas dental office. Even if a change in types of medication may not be possible, Dr. Suess can still provide you with tips on how to combat persistent dry mouth.