One thing many of us are noticing after wearing a face mask the last few months is the fact that our breath is not *quite* as fresh as we thought it was. If this is you, don’t be embarrassed. We’ve actually seen some memes and articles on the internet about this issue so rest assured, you are not alone.
If you think about it, it’s probably a good thing that you’re noticing your bad breath now so you can actually do something about it before it becomes a bigger issue. Also, who wants to walk around with stinky breath and not know it? As they say, knowing is half the battle.
Bad breath, also referred to as halitosis, is extremely common. According to medicalnewstoday.com, it’s estimated that 25% of us have bad breath on a regular basis. But, rather than just masking it with gum or mints, it’s important to know the cause of your bad breath so you can reverse it for good.
Five Common Bad Breath Causes
Here are some of the most common causes of halitosis:
Improper Oral Hygiene – Do you brush your teeth for two full minutes twice a day? Do you floss daily? Do you brush your gums and tongue? Skipping even one of these steps can cause an overgrowth of bacteria which can cause bad breath.
It’s also really important that you stay current with your bi-yearly checkups. This is really the only way to remove that sticky plaque that accumulates on your teeth. Too much plaque can lead to gum inflammation and eventually, gum disease.
Tobacco Use – Smoking or using chewing tobacco can cause bad breath on its own, but it also commonly leads to dry mouth, which is a big trigger for halitosis. It can also damage gum tissue and lead to disease. If you smoke, now is the time to quit.
Diet – Of course, if you’re eating large amounts of garlic and onions, your breath is not going to smell its best. Diets that are high in sugar and/or high in protein can also cause bad breath. The bacteria that live in your mouth feed on sugar and multiply, giving you that “fuzzy teeth” feeling I’m sure you’ve experienced before.
High protein diets cause bad breath for a different reason. These foods are sometimes difficult for the body to break down, and they can actually give off some sulfurous gases in the process (which don’t smell too great). Balance your diet with a healthy amount of carbs and lots of vegetables and you’ll be much happier… and so will anyone who gets close to you!
Gum Disease – If you have chronic bad breath (meaning that it’s present all the time, not just once in a while) it could be a sign of gum disease. Also referred to as periodontitis, gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. Regular checkups and good oral hygiene are usually enough to prevent gum disease, but some people are more susceptible than others.
If you suspect this is the cause of your bad breath, it’s important to schedule an appointment right away so we can take a look before it leads to tooth loss.
Medical Conditions & Medications – Medical conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea, acid reflux, bulimia, or respiratory tract infections can cause bad breath for various reasons. There are also many medications that cause dry mouth, which can then lead to halitosis. A lot of times, we’re not able to switch medications just because of an unpleasant side effect, but it is always worth asking just in case there’s something else you can take instead. Drink plenty of water, and try a mouthwash specifically formulated for dry mouth, like Biotène.
If you’re suffering from bad breath, give our office a call. We can ask you some questions to determine if we need to see you in person for a check-up, or if we’d be able to help you via a virtual consult.