Excel Dental Blog

Breakup With Bad Breath

It’s Valentine’s Day. Following a perfectly romantic dinner for two, you head home and cozy up on the couch with your special someone. Candles are lit. Music is playing. The moment is yours to lean in for the kiss.

But you don’t.

What’s holding you back? Halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath.

If your breath is less than fresh—know that you’re not alone! Anyone can develop bad breath and at any point in their life. Read on to understand what causes halitosis and what you can do for more kissable breath this Valentine’s Day and every day!

What Causes Halitosis?

According to the American Dental Association, bad breath is caused by bacteria in your mouth. When this bacteria begins to decay, it produces a sulfur compound that results in a foul odor. The bacteria can range in terms of severity. Some cases of bad breath can be fixed rather easily, but more severe cases may require the attention of your local Ozark dentists at Excel Dental.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many possible causes for halitosis, including:

  • Less-than-stellar dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily is important for preventing the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that grows on your teeth. If plaque is allowed to fester, it starts to produce an unpleasant odor. Plaque that isn’t brushed away will eventually begin to irritate your gums and form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums. This will increase your risk of developing periodontitis.
  • The food you eat. When certain food particles breakdown in your mouth, it can increase bacteria and cause an unpleasant odor. Furthermore, these foods can continue to cause bad breath as they enter your bloodstream through the process of digestion. Onions and garlic are the most common culprits of bad breath, but coffee, pickles, ketchup and fatty meats can also bring out the bad breath for some people.
  • Smoking. We all know that smoking is bad for your health, but did you also know it’s bad for your breath? Smoking in itself produces an unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers are also more likely to have gum disease—another cause of bad breath.
  • Dry mouth. Saliva helps to cleanse your mouth by removing particles that cause bad odors. Dry mouth is a condition where the mouth doesn’t produce as much saliva as needed, often leading to bad breath and general discomfort. Naturally-occurring dry mouth can also happen during sleep, which results in that dreaded “morning breath”.
  • Mouth, nose and throat conditions. Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath. Bad breath in kids can sometimes be caused by a foreign obstruction, such as a piece of food lodged in a nostril.
  • Certain diseases. Although less common, there are some cancers and disorders that can cause a distinctive mouth odor as a result of chemical production associated with these conditions. Chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) can also be associated with bad breath.

How Do I Treat Halitosis?

There is no true “quick cure” for halitosis. Mouthwashes and mints can temporarily mask bad breath, but these methods don’t get to the root of the problem. You must first identify the cause of your halitosis in order to treat it effectively. Below are a few tips for ensuring optimal breath health:

Brush and floss at least twice daily to physically remove surface bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath.

Use a tongue scraper to gently scrape debris off the top of your tongue.

Make sure to schedule bi-annual dental checkups with your Springfield dentist. Your dentist can examine your mouth to diagnose and properly treat your halitosis.

If you smoke or chew tobacco, consider stopping. Your body and breath will thank you!

Avoid foods that contribute to bad breath. Onions and garlic are perfectly healthy foods, but you may want to avoid them before a big event or special occasion. 

Eat more foods that’ll improve your breath! Foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as yogurt, salmon, eggs, and orange juice have been shown to reduce mouth bacteria, which may help improve your breath. Parsley has long been used as a breath freshener due to its high levels of naturally-deodorizing chlorophyll.

Goodbye Bad Breath!

Anyone can fall victim to bad breath due to a buildup of bacteria, but with optimal oral hygiene and a combination of a few other tactics, you may be able to resolve halitosis on your own. If your breath doesn’t improve with any of the above approaches, make an appointment with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental, located in Ozark, Missouri—a short 10 minute drive from Springfield. We can diagnose the root cause of your halitosis and develop a treatment plan for a healthy mouth and fresh breath.

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