Does your breath scare people away? Don’t be embarrassed, you’re in good company. It is estimated that 80 million people suffer from halitosis, or bad breath. It can affect your personal and business relationships and often indicate health problems.
Halitosis is caused by bacteria that thrive in the warm moist environment of your gums and tongue. If you don’t brush and floss daily, the bacteria from decaying food particles release a sulfur compound that causes an unpleasant odor. Halitosis is commonly a problem for people suffering from periodontal or gum disease. Bad breath can also be caused by diabetes, a medical infection, liver problems and sinus infections. Dieting, hormonal changes, tobacco use or even some medical treatments can contribute to halitosis.
We’ve all experienced the bad breath that results from eating strong foods such as onions and garlic. These very spicy foods actually emit an odor as they are digested in the stomach and the odor is expelled by the lungs. Garlic is so strong that you could rub it on the soles of your feet and it can show up on your breath!
If you suffer from halitosis, you should see a dentist to determine the causes. Begin by practicing good oral hygiene – brush thoroughly twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss daily to remove trapped food particles from between the teeth and gums. Brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Bacteria can build up on your tongue and cause odors. Be sure to tell your dentist about all the medications or medical treatment you are undergoing.
While over the counter mouthwashes won’t mask your bad breath, your dentist may recommend that you use a special antimicrobial mouth rinse to help reduce the odor causing bacteria.
Don’t let your bad breath scare people away. See your dentist for a complete examination and professional cleaning, watch what you eat, and start practicing good dental hygiene habits. And whatever you do, don’t rub garlic on the soles of your feet!