One of the most cherished traditions of the holiday season is getting a kiss under the mistletoe. However, no matter how long you stand under the sprig, no one is going to stop and kiss you if your breath is awful. Your Lake Orion Dentist, Dr. Brad Greenfield, examines some of the more common causes of halitosis and what can be done to freshen up your breath.
The Causes of Halitosis
Most, but not all, bad breath originates in your mouth, specifically your tongue, teeth, and gums. Millions of bacteria that live in your mouth feast on the leftover food particles that are left behind after you swallow. In return, they release an acidic by-product that will cause tooth decay and gum disease. This by-product also smells bad, which is why your breath smells bad. It’s a common belief that the smell is primarily coming from the teeth, but most of it is actually coming from the tongue. Another common cause of bad breath is from the food you eat. Even after a thorough cleaning, some food, like garlic and onions, can linger in your breath for a while. That’s because the pungent smell associated with them is found in an oil that, during digestion, can get into the bloodstream. When it gets to the lungs, it can infect air you’re exhaling. Other foods and drinks, like coffee, can dry out your mouth, with can lead to bad breath. Less common, but potentially more serious, are underlying medical conditions that can lead to halitosis. Acid reflux disease and sinus infections both are known to cause bad breath. If you suspect the cause of your breath is medical, seek treatment with your primary care physician.
What You Can Do
The best defense against bad breath is proper oral care. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day. It’s also a wise idea to clean your tongue with a tongue brush or tongue scraper, since much of the odor causing bacteria is found there. Keep your mouth hydrated. Drinking lots of water will help wash away both leftover food particles and the acidic byproducts that are causing the smell. If you know you are going to be in a social situation, avoid pungent foods for at least a few hours beforehand. For a temporary fix, mouthwash or a sugarless gum might mask the smell, but only a careful cleaning will truly stop halitosis.
See Your Lake Orion Dentist About Oral Health
If you have any questions about how to best maintain a healthy, kissable mouth, contact our Lake Orion dental office for a checkup by calling (248) 693-6213 today. We proudly serve families from Lake Orion, Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Oxford, and Rochester Hills, the 48360 zip code, as well as many other areas in Michigan.