At the office of Dr. Mark Reichman, we care about all components of your oral health. For many patients, this breaks down to an anxiety about the cosmetics of their mouth facing friends and strangers. When we talk, we are nervous not only about what we say, but the impression people get of us overall – hygiene, of course, plays a huge role in these impressions. So when people reveal complaints about bad breath, we understand there is a fear that you’re doing something wrong in terms of brushing. But dentists understand that there is more the bad breath than just daily brushing.
Many folks point to stinky foods, such as garlic and onions, as the culprit of bad breath. But there is more to monitoring your breath than just daily brushing. Certain diseases, including diabetes, infected tonsils, and stomach conditions can contribute to persistently foul breath that is difficult to manage. When harmful bacteria multiply, they break down proteins at a much higher rate than average. This causes the accumulation of sulfur compounds, emitting volatile sulfur gases, and thus, bad breath.
Here are five tips from the Dr. Mark Reichman OFMS to help you manage this condition.
- Quit smoking!
Targeting bad breath starts with learning what may be triggering it for you. If you’re a smoker, did you know that tobacco contributes to dry mouth? The smoke particles remain in the mouth long after you are done with your cigarette. This can leave an unpleasant smell that lingers even with persistent teeth brushing.
- An apple a day keeps the dentist away
When you are hungry, your empty stomach will start to build up acid. This release foul breath as your body desperately awaits its next meal. To prevent this, snack on fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Snacking on fresh, crispy carrots, celery, and apples keep your saliva flowing between meals aids in cleansing the bacteria away from your teeth, tongue and gums.
- Master brushing and flossing
If you’re not brushing and flossing the best way, then your breath will suffer. Brush every side of your tooth, including the gums. It’s important not to brush too aggressively and quickly – remember, your teeth and gums are delicate! When flossing, hold a small piece of string tightly, sneaking it under each side of the tooth using careful up and down movements. Remember to replace the piece of floss for each tooth as to not transfer the plaque.
- Scrape your tongue
To remove the germs your brush and floss may not be able to target, there’s an inexpensive tool called a tongue scraper. This will aid in removing any residue trapped between the taste buds and folds of your tongue. The scraper works by softly peeling the thin mucus-based layer of debris from the tongue. When using the tool, concentrate on the back of the tongue where odor-causing bacteria lives. Remember to rinse the scraper under warm water every time you swipe the tongue. However, if you don’t have a tongue scraper, you can still use your toothbrush to brush this area of your tongue.
- Check in with your dentist
The best way to manage your oral health and the most honest resource you have to ask about your breath is your dentist.
Sometimes, bad breath can be a sign of another health problem. If you have do have chronic bad breath that is difficult to manage with regular brushing, visit your dentist. They will be able to rule out any oral health problems and identify if you are indeed dealing with a systemic problem.