Battling Against Bad Breath

women covering her mouth in shock

Have you noticed that people tend to take a step back once you start talking? Do your coworkers elect to email you their questions instead of stopping by your desk to talk? Did you wakeup on Christmas morning last year to find your stockings stuffed with mouthwash and spearmint gum? If you answered yes to these questions, odds are you suffer from bad breath.

Approximately 40 million Americans deal with bad breath on a daily basis, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Clinically referred to as halitosis, bad breath can make any social situation a potentially embarrassing one. Suffering from bad breath can also rob you of your self-confidence, making it harder to succeed in both your personal and professional life.

At Clackamas Smiles, your choice for dentist in Clackamas, OR, we want all of our patients to avoid bad breath and all of the unfortunate stigmas that come with the condition. Fortunately, there are several simple and effective ways you can help freshen up your breath so you feel confident in any situation.

Brushing and Flossing

The most common cause of bad breath stems from plaque, a stick bacteria that builds up on teeth and harbors all sorts of foul-smelling bacteria. In addition to plaque, food that gets stuck between your teeth after eating can quickly begin to rot, which as anyone who has ever walked near a dumpster during the dog days of summer can tell you, does not contribute positively to the smell of your breath.

Brushing and flossing daily removes excess food particles that get trapped between teeth and reduces the buildup of plaque in your mouth. If your breath smells  a little too foul, try brushing and flossing more often, especially right after meals, to help freshen things up a bit.

Scrape Your Tongue

The white coating that forms on top of your tongue can harbor all sorts of foul-smelling bacteria. To get your tongue back to a more reddish color, gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush. If you find that your brush is too big to comfortably reach the back of the tongue, try using a tongue scraper instead. Tongue scrapers are specially designed to evenly apply pressure across the surface of the entire tongue, removing any food debris, dead cells, and bacteria that brushing alone can’t.

Avoid Certain Foods

While you might be a big fan of those liverwurst, onion, garlic, and sardine subs you eat at lunch, the people sitting next to you during afternoon meetings probably wish you’d become a vegan. Certain harsh smelling foods contain volatile substances that make their way into your bloodstream once consumed. After they hit your blood stream, these substances make their way to your lungs, causing you to expel toxic fumes every time you breathe out. Unfortunately, you can’t kill these sour odors by brushing, as they will continue to linger on your breath until your body completely processes what you ate out of your bloodstream.

Quitter’s Choice 

As if you needed one more reason to quit smoking, but bad breath ranks as just another reason to add to the list. Smoking damages gum tissue, stains your teeth, and increases your risk of developing oral cancer. If you need help quitting, schedule an appointment with your doctor to find a quitting strategy that’s right for you.

Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Obviously the healthier your mouth, the better it will smell. Periodontal disease is another common cause of bad breath. When you suffer from periodontal disease bacteria begins to accumulate in pockets around the base of your teeth, which creates foul-smelling odors. Scheduling regular cleanings with Dr. Suess will help ensure your gums remain healthy and that any signs of gum disease are spotted early.

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