11. Secret Weapon against Bad Breath

Bad breath is a social concern. It can also be a health issue.

A sweet, fruity odor can indicate undiagnosed diabetes, for example. An ammonia-like scent may signal kidney failure. Mouth sores, the flu, indigestion, and illnesses, like lung infections, can also result in bad breath.

Diet, of course, is a far more common and less serious cause of bad breath. Garlic and onions are common offenders. Pungent foods contain volatile oils that eventually reach the lungs (and the air you exhale) via the bloodstream. But few people realize that a high-protein diet can induce bad breath, too.

The most frequent causes of bad breath, though, are either gum disease or poor oral hygiene. Here’s why:

  1. Gum disease permits odor-causing bacteria to collect in the spaces between your teeth. With gum disease, the gums bleed and are usually swollen.

  2. Poor oral hygiene means you haven’t been brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist as often as you should. Food particles allowed to remain in the mouth decay and give off a strong odor.

Since mouth odor could be a symptom of a health problem, don’t try to rinse it away. See your doctor to uncover the real cause. If bad breath isn’t due to anything serious, take the following steps to remedy it.

  1. Brush your teeth more often.

  2. Floss your teeth after meals to clean spaces your toothbrush can’t reach.

  3. Gently brush your tongue to rid the surface of a stagnant coating of bacteria or food that can build up and give off unpleasant odors.

  4. Don’t smoke.

  5. Use a mouthwash or rinse until bad breath gets under control.

  6. Visit your dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months.

For more tips on caring for your mouth, see chapter 15, Dental Health: Beautiful Teeth for Life.

Chapter 1
  1. Fast Relief for Everyday Health Problems