Ways to beat bad breath

By: Health Local Staff Jun 01, 2012
how to beat bad breath

What causes bad breath and what you can do to get rid of it for good.

It happens to us all at one time or another. It is embarrassing. And difficult as it is to have it, what’s worse is that our supposedly civilized society means that it is a faux pas to inform others when their breath is bad. What invariably happens is that we are left to interpret people’s body language as a signal to pop a mint or go brush our teeth. And although bad breath happens to all us, this is of little comfort to you in the moment when all you want to do is crawl under a rock.

Come out from behind that rock and let’s talk about your breath, sweetie! You’ll be thankful you did.

Known Causes of Halitosis

Myriad things can cause bad breath. Among the usual suspects:

  • Cavities
  • Food caught between teeth 
  • Food stuck on tonsils
  • Broken fillings
  • Allergies
  • Colds
  • Acid reflux
  • Neglecting to brush your tongue

Now that you have a general idea what causes bad breath, although that list is large, you can probably eliminate a few pretty easily. Examine your mouth and make sure that you have no cracked fillings. Sometimes food gets trapped inside a filling and it rots. Fillings age and after about 15 years, it is normal for this to happen. You may also have a cavity that is still pretty tiny but large enough for food to get trapped into. If either of these is the case, it sounds like a trip to the dentist is in order and your bad chronic halitosis should disappear.

General Oral Hygiene
Assuming it isn’t a cavity or a broken filling, the next runner up could be as simple as brushing your teeth longer, flossing better or scraping your tongue as part of your teeth brushing routine.

Start by flossing your teeth. If after you are done the floss is phew! stinky! Bingo! You had food caught in between your teeth and now it’s gone. Go brush your teeth and get rid of the offender that could still be floating around your mouth right now.

If you have never scraped your tongue, this is a great time to start. Bacteria love warm places to bury themselves. In between teeth, on tongues, you name it. You could floss really well, brush perfectly but if you aren’t scraping your tongue, you are missing a whole party taking place on your tongue. They’re inexpensive, and despite the name, scraping doesn’t hurt.

When It’s Not Your Mouth That’s Foul
Breath still stinky? You may have internal issues going on that need to be addressed. If you are prone to allergies, you may just have a case of postnasal drip. An overactive immune system reacts to lots of things such as dust, pollen, cats, dogs, and myriad foods. Not necessarily life threatening, you may just have lots and lots of mucous running from your nose to your throat. Never swallow this, as it only exacerbates things and consider taking a decongestant. Neither will take care of the problem fully and so periodically run to the rest room and gargle. You could have some bacteria on your tonsils that is offensive. If you don’t have allergies, colds can cause the same problem. The advice would be the same, but just for the duration of your cold rather than as a prophylactic measure.

Acid Reflux and Other Stomach Issues
If you have determined it’s none of the above, then you may want to look deep inside your body to determine the cause. Acid reflux and stomach problems can cause breath that is quite literally wretched. All adults get a little acid now and again. Some acidic foods, such as citrus, peppers – both hot and sweet – and a host of others can cause the pH in our stomachs to be off. Popping an antacid once in a while usually does the trick. However if it’s a chronic issue, visit your doctor. And before she puts you on a pill to remedy your acid, look into ways that you can balance the pH in your stomach naturally.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.