It’s smart to be well-informed about bad breath – after all, aside from the social consequences that sufferers face, there’s also the oral health implications to consider. Here is the truth about it, and how to fix it if you have it.
Why you should be concerned about bad breath
First of all, bad breath can have negative effects on your social and work life.
If it’s noticeable to others around you, then there are obvious social consequences as others may want to keep a distance from you (and unfortunately, negative perceptions of you may follow). This is quite a different thing than cosmetics.
Secondly, bad breath can be an indication of a health problem.
Carefully consider the following possibilities, in case any of them apply to you.
i) Bad breath could be a sign of sub-optimal oral hygiene. If someone doesn’t floss properly (or avoids it altogether), or doesn’t do a good enough job of brushing their teeth, this can lead to a build-up of bacteria or food particles trapped between or in deeper crevices of your teeth. This bacteria contributes to plaque formation, which leads to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
ii) Bad breath could be caused by dry mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, it’s important to treat it because the saliva in your mouth can help to protect your teeth and flush away bacteria that lead to dental decay. It’s also important to consider whether or not your dry mouth is caused by another condition that’s treatable. For example, allergy sufferers often have blocked nasal passages causing them to mouth breath, which in turn causes dry mouth and bad breath. There are also some autoimmune conditions that cause dry mouth, which ought to be treated appropriately.
iii) H. Pylori infections can cause bad breath, in addition to other health problems such as ulcers or gastrointestinal reflux. The good news is that H. Pylori infections are generally easily treated with appropriate medication.
The above list doesn’t include all possible scenarios, so be sure to have a discussion with your dentist about your particular situation to make sure nothing important is overlooked.
How to know if you have bad breath
Not everyone who has bad breath knows it, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. And knowing you have it is the first step to fixing it. Close friends or family are often hesitant to tell someone that they have a problem, so ideally, you should give them permission to be honest with you about it. Be direct and ask them to tell you whether or not your breath could use some improvement. If you’re not comfortable doing so, ask your dentist instead – it’s their job to help you maintain the best possible oral health, and they’ll be more than happy to answer these types of questions.
Also, many people notice that when their breath isn’t fresh, their mouth has an unpleasant taste – so if you notice that kind of thing, it could be a sign that your breath isn’t as fresh as it could be.
Finally, be sure to bring your dentist into the discussion at some point so they can confirm the state of your breath and guide you in regards to how to fix it.
What to do about it
The first step to dealing with it is to figure out the cause – be aware that sometimes trial and error is required.
With the help of your dentist, find out if your oral hygiene techniques require improvement or optimization. Regular and thorough brushing and flossing are key strategies not only to protect your teeth and gums from disease or decay, but to keep your breath fresh.
Your dentist can also aid you in finding out if you have an underlying medical issue that’s causing issues with your breath.
Don’t avoid dealing with your breath
There’s no shame in finding out that you have bad breath. It’s typically nothing more than a warning sign that something needs fixing, whether it’s your oral hygiene techniques or a health issue. And that gives you a chance to deal with it and come out of the experience with a healthier body and mouth than ever before!
If you’re in the Oakville, Burlington or Milton area and would like a consult with one of our dentists we’d be glad to book a visit and discuss all your dental care needs!