Bad breath, or halitosis, is a common problem among people of all ages. If you are someone with bad breath, here are a few tips to eliminate it.
Brushing your teeth
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles are frayed.
Choose a toothbrush with a head that is small enough to reach all areas of your mouth but large enough to clean the teeth effectively and reach the back teeth.
Manual and powered toothbrushes are equally effective if used properly. If you use an electric toothbrush, choose one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Be sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth. Most electric and manual toothbrushes have a pointed tip to access hard-to-reach areas.
To brush your teeth correctly, hold the toothbrush at a slight angle against your teeth, and scrub in small circles. Remember to brush the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Start brushing at the gum line and work the toothbrush up to the tips of the molars. Then reverse the direction to brush the back of your teeth and tongue. Finally, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove plaque and food particles you loosened during brushing.
Regular flossing removes food particles and plaque from between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. If left in place, these substances can cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and other serious health problems. Be sure to floss at least once per day – you may need to do it more often if you are unable to brush after a meal. You may also want to consider water flossers if you have trouble using string floss. These handheld devices scrub away plaque with a steady stream of water while you guide the flosser around your mouth. Water flossers are a great option for individuals with braces. Using one of these devices can help to prevent cavities and gingivitis, as well as keep your gums healthy.
Brushing your Tongue
Bacteria like to live on the tongue, so it is important to brush your tongue as part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently in a circular motion. Consider using a tongue scraper to remove bacteria from the back of your tongue since it does not typically get removed during brushing.
Avoiding Dry Mouth
Without enough saliva in your mouth, your chances of developing bad breath and tooth decay increase. Bacteria grow very fast in a dry mouth because it is much drier than in a healthy mouth. Common causes of dry mouth include medications, smoking, diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, radiation therapy, allergies, diabetes, disorders of the salivary glands, stress, aging, snoring, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and drinking a lot of alcohol.
To combat dry mouth, you can use products such as mouthwashes with fluoride, toothpaste made for dry mouth, sugarless gum, and artificial saliva products, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. You may also want to consider changing the medication that is causing you to suffer from dry mouth.
If you regularly take medications that can cause dry mouth, be sure to talk to your dentist about ways to prevent it from occurring so you can keep your oral health as optimal as possible. You can also ask about other ways to combat dry mouth aside from using over-the-counter products. Your dentist may prescribe special medicine for your condition or recommend other treatment options.
Adjusting Your Diet
The foods you eat can have a big impact on your dental health. Certain foods and drinks can cause cavities and gum disease. Skip sugary drinks like soda and juice. These drinks contain a lot of sugar that’s harmful to your smile. Drinking water can help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth, which can help prevent tooth decay. You should also avoid starchy foods that can get stuck in your teeth and lead to decay. Instead, choose foods that are chewy and full of fiber. Foods that are high in calcium and protein can help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent plaque buildup. Cut back on sticky foods like candy, cake, cookies, and dried fruits. These foods can stick to your teeth and cause more damage than other types of food. Eat cheese at the end of a meal to help neutralize the acids in other foods that can cause damage. Dairy products and leafy greens are great for your oral health.
To keep your pearly whites in good shape, a good oral hygiene routine cannot be underestimated. Also, maintaining a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and other minerals will help keep your teeth healthy. Flossing regularly, brushing twice a day, and avoiding tobacco are some of the best things one can do for their teeth and gums.
To learn more, please schedule an appointment online or call All Smiles Family Dentistry at (319) 553-3085 to have a consultation with Dr. Jennifer A. Stevenson or Dr. Sarah Cyr, and we will be happy to help.