We’ve all heard some variation of the saying, “Never turn down a breath mint, for there is a reason why it is offered.” Though we might not notice, sometimes our breath can turn a little on the foul side. We do know that foods with heavy garlic and onions, or drinks like strong coffee, could require a mint afterward (by the way – adding peppermint to your coffee drink will not cancel the effects, we checked). However, other factors contribute to bad breath. Let’s start at the biological beginning.
Bacteria and Bad Breath
There’s no getting away from the bacteria in your mouth. They’re always there. You can only affect how many there are and, to an extent, what kind. Yes, there are more than one kind of bacteria in your mouth! Gram-positive bacteria do not have a fatty outer layer, and tend to be the cause of plaque and tartar. Gram-negative bacteria do have a fatty outer layer, and they produce a stinky gas, instead of plaque. When gram-negative bacteria make enough gas, it carries on your breath and others smell it. That is a primary source of bad breath.
On the other hand, some bacteria in your mouth can help maintain better-smelling breath, as discussed in this article from Scientific American. These “good” bacteria hold the “bad” bacteria in check. But when the bad bacteria get the upper hand, then bad breath results.
Other Contributors to Bad Breath
As mentioned earlier, certain foods and drinks can lead to bad breath, so our diet also comes into play. Both bacteria (the plaque kind and the odorous gas kind) love any foods high in carbohydrates and sugars. If you eat these foods, rinse your mouth with water (not soda) and brush as soon as you can. In fact, use water as your preferred rinse, instead of a sugary one. Also, crunchy veggies stimulate your saliva flow and that helps reduce the production of bad bacteria.
Smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, vaping – these practices and others like them introduce chemicals and elements that bolster and reinforce bad breath. Tar and nicotine reduce saliva production and blood flow, hindering the chances of healing or warding off bad breath producers. They effectively pave the way for further stench production, and often add their own foul odors to the mix.
What to Do About Bad Breath
Halitosis is the term used for chronic bad breath. There are certain health conditions, like dry mouth, that cause halitosis. Thankfully, there are ways to counteract these issues, and the Yuba City Dentistry Group keeps up to date with the latest and most successful treatments.
One of the best things you can do to fend off bad breath is to have a strong, regular oral hygiene routine, including:
- Flossing daily,
- Brushing for two minutes twice a day,
- Using mouthwash as recommended,
- Dental checkups twice a year.
At the Yuba City Dentistry Group, we want your smile to last and be healthy, and your teeth to stay firm and intact. Helping your breath to be as fresh as possible is part of that endeavor. Please contact us to discuss any questions or concerns you might have on this issue.