We want our smile to be perfect — pearly white, clean, and straight. However, our dream of achieving our most beautiful smile can be shattered in a single breath, especially when it’s terrible.
Commonly called bad breath, halitosis is characterized by a bad odor stemming from the mouth which is usually due to specific food consumption, smoking, alcohol use, poor oral hygiene, a dry mouth, a medical condition, or a medication.
When an unpleasant odor accompanies our smile and speech, it causes people to turn away or wrinkle their nose. It can result in alienation and bullying from others.
Halitosis can also lead to self-consciousness and apprehension which can eventually affect social relationships and self-esteem.
Other than the social consequences of having a foul-smelling breath, it can also be an indication of an unhealthy mouth or other oral-related problems.
Why does my breath smell bad?
Like mentioned above, halitosis can be due to several factors. Poor oral health habits cause the build-up of plaque, a film of bacteria on the teeth. When plaque is not regularly removed, it gives off an odor that then affects the breath.
Poor oral hygiene increases the susceptibility of the mouth to dental problems like periodontal diseases, dental caries, and other infections. These dental problems, in turn, contribute to halitosis.
Bad breath can also be a byproduct of diseases like throat infections, sinusitis, bronchitis, digestive problems, among others.
When the mouth is dry, volatile sulfur compounds which release bad odor are produced. Alcohol consumption and tobacco use can also lead to dry mouth as well as an increased risk for oral diseases.
What are ways to prevent bad breath?
Reducing halitosis requires proper diet, regular oral hygiene, and good lifestyle habits. Here are some measures you can do to prevent bad breath from ruining your smile.
- Be mindful of what you eat. Opt for a nutritious meal to strengthen your teeth and ensure your oral health is at its best condition. Also, eat garlic and onion with caution as they can produce lingering smells and cause bad breath.
- Drink lots of liquid. Being hydrated prevents dry mouth. Water can also wash away food particles and rinse bacteria.
- Brush your teeth, floss, and rinse with mouthwash because nothing really beats basic oral hygiene. Make sure to practice proper oral hygiene as this does not only prevent bad breath but is also imperative in protecting the mouth against harmful bacteria and infections.
- Clean your tongue. Often, people limit their oral hygiene routine to brushing their teeth. Cleaning the tongue is as essential as brushing as bacteria can also breed on the tongue’s surface which then can move to the teeth and cause cavities and bad breath.
- Quit smoking and drink alcohol moderately. When you smoke or drink alcohol, your mouth is prone to getting dry. When the mouth lacks enough saliva which helps combat bacteria, harmful bacteria can linger and produce foul odors than translate to bad breath.
- See your dentist. It may seem time-consuming, but a visit to your dentist is necessary for addressing oral-related problems and solve your bad breath.