Bad Breath, also known as halitosis, is a common condition that can lead to embarrassing moments and discomfort in social situations. It is caused by bacteria on the tongue, tonsils and other areas of the mouth that break down proteins into volatile sulfur compounds which produce a foul odor. Other factors such as diet, medical conditions (such as dry mouth), smoking, medications and poor oral hygiene may also contribute to bad breath.
I once had bad breath. It was a terrible experience for myself and even the people around me. I was terribly ashamed and afraid of myself and my social circles. On one hand, I wallowed in self-pity because of my condition. On the other, I was afraid that my friends would go away and disappear because they despised my rancid breath (which is understandable since even I don’t like it!) that they smell whenever I talked to with them. Even my closest friends jokingly chided me about my condition. My self-confidence plummeted and eventually, I withdrew into myself. As a result, I became a silent person that did not talk much with anyone. My social circles faded and disappeared because I did not spend time with them much. I fell into rock bottom and was not able to get out.
Until the time that I told myself that I wasn’t the person that I came to be. I figured that I shouldn’t let my condition get the better of me. I would not lose my friends, career, and opportunities over some silly but admittedly embarrassing problem. And thus I decided to take action and it was all worth it. I went to the dentist and once I was able to identify the causes of bad breath, I was taught the solution on how to deal with it.
Brush, Brush, Brush, and Brush
Brushing twice a day is a given and is one of the best ways to prevent bad breath. However, I was brushing my teeth the wrong way. I usually just swiped my toothbrush thrice over the different regions in my mouth and then I was already done. I rinsed and went off to do my stuff. That was a huge part of the problem. It was recommended by the dentist that I brush my teeth thoroughly for at least two minutes. Thorough brushing does not mean intense brushing, rather, gently brushing each region of the mouth and not leaving of any area untouched as much as possible. Note that the tongue and the sides of the gums can trap food that when decomposing, emits foul smell. So I tried focusing on those areas of my mouth in addition to thoroughly brushing my teeth. Tongue scrapers are also available in supermarkets for a more refined tongue cleaning.
Floss after Meals
Flossing helps rid the mouth of food that are otherwise unreachable by a toothbrush when brushing like tight corners and areas between teeth. It also removes plaque – a layer of bacteria that reacts with sugars to produce acids that cause tooth decay. Less trapped food in the mouth, less chances of contracting bad breath.
Use Peroxide or Commercial Mouthwashes
As much as brushing and flossing can do, there may still be leftover debris of food inside the mouth. There are also tons of bacteria residing in the dark corners of every man’s mouth. So nothing beats gargling peroxide or other commercial mouthwashes to ensure a health set of gums and pearly whites.
Quit the Habit
Smoking is one of the primary causes of bad breath. It stains the teeth and leaves gums irritated and sore. This is on top of other more harmful effects smoking can impose to a smoker. So quit the habit and ask for professional advice on how to quit smoking.
Stay Clear From Spicy Food
Spicy food generally contains a lot of garlic and onions. These two can immediately cause bad breath. When garlic and onions are digested, they go into the bloodstream and are transferred to the lungs where they will be excreted. That explains the rancid smell one emits after eating a garlic-y dish or meal. And worse, while mouth fresheners may cover the smell temporarily, the foul odor stays until they are completely excreted from the body.
Eating Yogurt Helps
Yogurt, when consumed, releases good bacteria in the intestinal tract. The good bacteria replace the foul bacteria and help the body release it through excrements. Other vegetables like parsley and celery also have this function.
One of the best and easiest ways of dealing with and eventually removing bad breath is by chewing gum frequently. Before and after meals, after snacks, whenever. Chewing gum aids in the increased production of saliva. Saliva washes away not only bacteria but also debris of food stuck in the tight corners of the mouth like the sides of the gums and in between the teeth. Remember that less food rotting in the mouth leads to lesser chances of contracting bad breath. However, look for gum that is sugar-free. Sugars react with the bacteria in the mouth that leads to tooth decay which is another problem.
Regular Dentist Check-ups
Missing dentist appointments on purpose? That can surely lead to oral problems. Try to at least see the dentist every six months so that the dentist can monitor the health of your teeth, tongue, and gums. Cavities can always open up even with the most thorough of tooth brushers.
Remember to always consult with the dentist at the first signs of bad breath or even minor cases like tooth cavities and the likes. Even better, consult with the dentist even when you have healthy teeth. Prevention is always better than the cure so preventing bad breath is better than treating it. Always follow proper oral hygiene unless you want to experience a problem like I did.