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Have you noticed people running in the opposite direction once you open your mouth to start to speak? Are friends or co-workers offering you gum and mints more than usual? Sorry to break it to you, but if you answered yes to any of these questions…bad breath may be the problem.

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, often a results from poor dental habits and can also be sign of other health problems. Bad breath can be made worse by the types of foods you eat, as well as other unhealthy lifestyle habits. You may not even know you have bad breath due to the process our bodies use called acclimation which filters out your own sent to detect outside smells. What this means is, you are used to your own odor.

There are some easy ways to determine if your breath is starting to smell bad. One of those are asking a friend or family member. Your friends and family are more than likely to give you an honest opinion. If you are too embarrassed to ask you have another options. Take a cotton ball, wipe your tongue with it and give it a whiff. Even take a look in a mirror and stick your tongue out as far as possible, see a white colored film?  If you do, that’s actually built up bacteria that produces sulfur compounds that create halitosis.

So why do you have bad breath?

One of the most common reason people have bad breath is because of decaying food particles and bacteria growth in the mouth. This is usually caused from not brushing or flossing your teeth daily. The food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth on the tongue, in between teeth and around the gums.

There are plenty of things that can cause bad breath. Smoking and chewing tobacco, gum disease, cavities, and also illnesses such as diabetes, sinus infections and acid reflux. If you’re experiencing chronic bad breath even after your cleansing attempts, you may have a bigger health issue and should make an appointment with your dentist.

How do you avoid bad breath?

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid bad breath. Keeping up with your oral hygiene can go a long way to prevent halitosis. Brushing teeth, rinsing mouth and flossing at least once a day, can remove food particles and bacteria that are the main causes of bad breath. Here are a few other measures you can take to prevent halitosis:

  • Wet your whistle; drinking water helps loosen and rise away food particles and also encourages saliva production.
  • Chew gum that’s either sugarless or sweetened with Xylitol. Chewing gum also encourages saliva production and minty flavors may help freshen breath.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash. Swish around for at least 30 seconds. Ask your dentist about what mouthwashes they recommend.
  • Eat more raw foods such as carrots, apples and celery. The crunchy fruits and vegetables can help scrape out the plaque buildup that causes bad breath.
  • Use a tongue scraper. You can purchase toothbrushes that have these on the back. The tongue scrapers are designed to remove bacteria and food that cling to your tongue.
  • Invest in an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can keep your teeth, gums and tongue cleaner. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups to ensure your health issues will be addressed at the earlier time.

If you want to kick that bad breath, make sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cottone at Berry Hill Dentistry.