How to Cure Bad Breath

In the embarrassing body odor department, few things can compete with bad breath. A sweaty armpit can be hidden away in a long overcoat, while breaking wind has gained comedic acceptance over the years. Bad breath, however, is still looked upon unfavorably. That’s why Cooley-Bentz Dental Associates has put together a helpful resource on how to banish bad breath while exploring the connection between halitosis and dry mouth.

What is dry mouth?

Suffering from dry mouth is a common occurrence, one that 25% of the global population experience at least once in a lifetime. It usually clears up with a drink of water. But for many, a drink of any kind does not help. One reason for this is what medical professions refer to as xerostomia (pronounced zeer–o-STOE-me-ah), which occurs when the production of saliva decreases, causing a sticky feeling in the mouth.

Saliva is often overlooked and thought of as disgusting, which is true, seeing spit anywhere can turn you off from even the most appetizing of meals. But ‘spit’ plays an important role in keeping the mouth and tongue moistened. Saliva plays a critical role in chewing, swallowing, and talking. It also contains enzymes needed for digestion, neutralizes acids, and washes away food particles in the mouth. All these make ‘spit’ a critical element of strong oral health.

What are the causes of bad breath?

Dry mouth doesn’t just affect daily activities like chewing, it can also manifest as bad breath since salivary glands aren’t making enough saliva and your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Other causes of bad breath include the following.

Tobacco Products

Smoking gives you bad breath, stains your teeth, and comes with a boatload of other health problems. Tobacco causes irritation in the gums and often leads to gum disease, another cause of bad breath. Because smoking also disrupts your sense of smell, it’s difficult for smokers to know when they have dragon breath.

Food

Garlic, cheese, onions… These are just some of the foods that cause bad breath.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Failure to brush and floss daily allows food particles to remain in the mouth and a colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) starts to form on the teeth. Your tongue will also trap bacteria-producing odors and before long your breath turns foul.

Medical Conditions

Sinus condition, diabetes, and gastric reflux are some of the medical conditions that cause bad breath. Having oral surgeries such as teeth removal as well as certain medications can also lead to halitosis.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, Dr. Cooley Bentz has the medical background and experience to accurately pinpoint the cause of your bad breath.

Dry Mouth Dental Solutions

Dry mouth may not be life-threatening but the decrease of saliva in the mouth can become painful. Normally, feeling parched makes it difficult to talk, chew, or even swallow food and if the condition is left untreated for a long time, xerostomia may lead to severe gum disease, periodontitis, tooth loss, and tooth decay.

Dental treatments for dry mouth are determined by the diagnosis. Dr. Cooley Bentz will first examine you, perform a blood test to measure the rate of saliva flow, do an X-ray of the salivary glands, and in some cases, take a small sample of the glands’ tissue to test for diseases. Once the underlying cause of dry mouth is known, Dr. Cooley Bentz will recommend an appropriate cause of treatment.

Here are a few possible treatments you can expect:

  • Use dry mouth gel, artificial saliva, or other mouth moisturizers to provide relief from discomfort and pain.
  • Try a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash designed for dry mouth.
  • A customized fluoride tray to protect teeth from decay.
  • Switch the over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants with other medications that don’t lead to dry mouth.

Bad Breath Home Remedies

Sometimes daily tooth brushing, tongue scraping, and flossing aren’t enough to keep bad breath at bay. Here are a couple of home remedies that have worked for some of Dr. Cooley Bentz’s patients:

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Crunchy snacks like apples, celery, and carrots offer an easy way to freshen breath. Chewing these fruits and vegetables helps to remove food particles (and their odor-causing bacteria) more effectively than any toothbrush.

Rinse your mouth with salty water.

You can make a salt-water rinse by simply adding a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water, stir well, and swish the solution in your mouth for at least thirty seconds. Your breath will become baby fresh in no time.

Drink palate-cleansing teas.

Green, ginger, clove, peppermint, and cinnamon teas are also natural cures for bad breath. The antimicrobial agents in these herbs and spices have deodorizing properties that can cure bad breath almost instantly. Try drinking three cups of any of the above teas and you’ll be saying bye-bye to halitosis before you know it.

Chew sugarless peppermint gum.

Peppermint gum can help neutralize odor and freshen breath. Keep a stick of gum on hand when you’re on the go and have no brush or paste at hand.

When to Call Your Dentist

If the home remedies outlined in this article don’t improve your mouth odor, call your dentist. If halitosis is accompanied by painful, swollen, or bleeding gums or tooth loss… (say it with me) call your dentist. If xerostomia leads to pain when chewing, swallowing, or talking… Dr. Cooley Bentz can help determine the cause of dry mouth and provide professional teeth cleaning services to clear out any buildup of odor-causing bacteria between the teeth and gums.