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Do you suffer from chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis? There are quite a few reasons your breath may not smell good, ranging from the food and medications you consume, to the habits you consistently practice. Following is a breakdown of some causes of chronic bad breath and what you can do to help prevent it.

What are you eating?
Whenever you eat food, it breaks down and increases the bacteria in the mouth (which contributes to breath odors). Eating pungent foods such as spices, onions, or garlic, especially contributes to bad breath. Not only that, but as you digest your food, it enters your bloodstream and goes to your lungs where it can make your breath smell unpleasant. Also, coffee leaves a strong residue on the back of the tongue.

Are you practicing good oral hygiene?
Brushing and flossing twice a day is the foundation of your oral health. If you don’t clean your teeth and gums, food particles are left behind that can make your breath smell. Brushing and flossing removes the colorless, sticky bacterial film known as plaque which can trap bacteria and cause odors otherwise. Even the tongue harbors bacteria so taking the time to brush or scrape your tongue can help!

Do you have dry mouth?
One of the most important things saliva does is clean your mouth. If saliva production is down you may have a condition called dry mouth, which causes bad breath. Dry mouth occurs every time you sleep, which is why you wake up with “morning breath”. Dry mouth can also be caused by taking certain medications, diuretics, lack of hydration, consuming alcohol and tobacco use.

Do you smoke?
If you smoke tobacco, it can leave a lingering aftertaste in the mouth, particularly if you have gum disease which is a common condition in smokers and also contributes to bad breath.

Do you have an infection?
Canker sores, or sores in the mouth, tooth decay, gum disease at any stage, or recent oral surgery may also have bad breath.
Sinus infections, post nasal drip, diseases like cancer and metabolic disorders including acid reflux can all contribute to unpleasant breath. Certain diets which incorporate extreme fasting or very low-carb diets are contributors.

What can you do?

To improve your breath, there are things you can do to make a difference.

–Snack on raw apple slices, celery, or carrots to help clear your mouth of debris. Avoid eating garlic and onions and heavy spices.

–Hydration is important, so drink plenty of water and avoid diuretics to maintain saliva production.

–It is vital to brush and floss twice daily, and be sure to clean your tongue.

–Using an antiseptic mouthwash will fight bad breath while lowering bacteria.

–If you are a smoker and are thinking of stopping, consider using a smoking cessation program.

–Limit alcohol consumption.

–In between meals you can chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production and make your breath smell fresh.

–Be sure to see your dentist every six months to remove hardened tartar as well as rule out gum disease.

If you have any questions or would like to be seen by Dr. Ramin Moradi and his team, please call our San Tomas Signature Smiles staff at 408-378-2890 today!