If you have bad breath, you know that it’s an embarrassing problem. Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be caused by poor oral health habits but may also be an indicator of other health problems. Halitosis can be worsened by the food choices you make as well as by other unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking.
Have you heard these myths about bad breath?
Myth: You can tell if you have bad breath by breathing into your hands.
The fact is that breathing into your hands produces breath from the front of your mouth, not the back area as happens when you talk. This type of self-test may miss smells emanating from the back of your tongue where most bad breath originates.
Myth: You have an underlying illness if you have bad breath.
Not usually true. Most of the bad odor comes from chemical compounds given off when food and bacteria accumulate in the rough area on the back of the tongue. But often halitosis is an indicator of some type of dental problem such as a tongue coating or gums that are sore, swollen or infected.
While bad breath may be caused by a problem elsewhere in the body such as the nose, throat, ear, kidneys, intestines or lungs, it is rarely the only observed symptom.
Myth: Mouthwash will get rid of bad breath.
Mouthwash flavorings can temporarily disguise mouth odor and those with antiseptic qualities can eliminate bacteria. However, mouthwashes containing alcohol can actually dry out the mouth causing the breath to smell even worse.
A good alternative is to scrape your tongue with a tongue cleaner – but don’t press too hard. Brushing your tongue with a soft toothbrush can have the same benefit.
The best solution for bad breath is good dental care including daily brushings and flossing, drinking plenty of water, limiting smoking and eating a balanced diet. Be sure to come visit us if you have persistent bad breath despite good oral care.
Let Us Know If You Have Questions on Any Aspect of Oral Health Care
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.