Do people keep a safe distance when you talk to them? If yes, it’s either they’re not comfy being around you for certain reasons or… well, your breath stinks, sis. (Eep!) So what do you do to fight off the breath of death and avoid the embarrassment of having to cover your mouth every single time you converse with someone? Judith Herrera, DMD of Smiles R Us dental clinic gives you the 411 on good oral health.
What causes it?
First things first: Herrera says there’s such a thing as “pseudo” bad breath or a temporary situation where the breath develops an unpleasant odor caused by strong-smelling food (think garlic, onions, and certain types of cheese), smoking, and drinking alcohol.
On the other hand, halitosis can also be indicative of and caused by a health problem. If this is the case, the most common causes of that bad breath are:
- tooth decay
- bacteria accumulation in the oral cavity (on the tooth surfaces, gum line, and especially on the tongue) due to poor oral hygiene
- gum disease, digestive illness, metabolic illness, and respiratory illness
How is it treated?
• Since bad breath is a symptom of many health conditions, it is important to be able to detect the real cause first. Nothing beats proper diagnosis and smart treatment planning. So once halitosis is noticed, have your full oral check up with a dentist ASAP!
• Regular oral prophylaxis (a.k.a. cleaning) plays a huge role in avoiding bacterial build up in hard to clean areas in the mouth. Ideally, it should be done every three months.
Twice a year is acceptable.
• Proper brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping are essential for a clean mouth and fresh breath. Remember, breath mints and gums only mask the stink!
• Ask your dentist about toothpastes specifically prescribed for halitosis. For regular daily brushing, however, any toothpaste will do.
Photo: Mike Dee; Make up: Ara Fernando