We like to keep things fresh here at Surf City Dental – especially when it comes to our breath. And since National Fresh Breath Day is celebrated in August, now seems like the perfect time to let our friends and patients in on a few tips to keep their breath smelling great!

Nearly everyone experiences periods of time when their breath is less than stellar. Products like mouthwash, gum, and mints may help temporarily, but they won’t necessarily address the underlying issues that trigger bad breath. The good news is, if you know what’s causing it, you can often prevent this unfavorable condition.

The Surf City Dental team has compiled a few of the most common causes of bad breath below. Let’s dig in!

Refresh Your Breath!

Bad breath, or halitosis, can have a number of origins, from poor oral hygiene to medical conditions and genetics. While not all of these can be prevented naturally, if you’re experiencing embarrassing mouth odor, a few simple changes to your oral routine or daily choices may help.

Plaque Build-Up
One of the most common culprits of bad breath is plaque. This bacteria-ridden film forms on and in between teeth, as well as on the surface of your tongue, trapping bacteria and causing your breath to smell. It also contributes to gingivitis, a painful inflammation of the gums that can further add to halitosis.

How To Prevent Plaque
Good oral hygiene habits are the best way to stop plaque before it becomes a problem. We all know that brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using a dentist-approved mouthwash before bed are essential for a healthy mouth.

If you already follow a solid oral hygiene routine but are still experiencing breath troubles because of plaque build-up, try these additional suggestions from Surf City Dental:

  • Bring a toothbrush to work so you can brush after meals
  • Swish your mouth with drinking water after you eat to remove food particles that carry bacteria
  • Brush or scrape your tongue when you clean your teeth to eliminate bacteria that forms on its surface

Regular brushing is certainly one of the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but be careful not to overdo it. Brushing too often or pressing too hard can wear down enamel and end up damaging your teeth instead.

Dry Mouth

Saliva naturally helps control the formation of bacteria in your mouth by neutralizing harmful acids and washing away food particles that are left behind after a meal. If you experience dry mouth often, you most likely encounter unfavorable breath along with it.

How To Prevent Dry Mouth
Encouraging saliva production is the best way to alleviate dry mouth. If you’re dealing with it on a regular basis, these Surf City Dental recommendations can help:

Drink plenty of water! Not only is H2O needed for adequate saliva production, but water (like saliva) helps to neutralize the harmful acids that build up on teeth.

Suck on hard candies (preferably sugarless) throughout the day to encourage saliva production.
After dinner, opt for a piece of sugarless gum instead of mints. Not only does gum activate the salivary glands, but it also helps remove food particles from in between teeth.

If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, your Surf City Dental practitioner or doctor may recommend an artificial saliva preparation or oral medication to help stimulate the flow of saliva.

Medical Conditions
Health conditions and the symptoms they bring about can cause issues with breath as well. For instance, unhealed oral surgery wounds or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses, or throat can all contribute to halitosis. Additionally, mouth odor is often a side effect of medications used to treat disease.

If your bad breath doesn’t seem to be linked to your oral health, check with your doctor to uncover the root of the problem. They may be able to recommend a different medication or a change in diet that can provide relief.

Pungent Foods And Tobacco
Onions and garlic are famous for causing bad breath. But these smells don’t just linger in your mouth – food odors make their way through your bloodstream and into your lungs, causing you to exhale their strong scent.

Cigarettes are a well-known cause of foul-smelling breath as well. The smoke from cigarettes remains in your throat and lungs, making your breath taste stale. They also leave chemical compounds behind that mix with your saliva to cause bad breath.

Unfortunately, there is no magic solution here. The only way to keep pungent foods from making your breath smell is to not eat them. Same with cigarettes – if this habit is causing your breath troubles, quitting is the only way to prevent it.

Though we all deal with it from time to time, bad breath can be embarrassing. However, if you’re persistent about your oral hygiene and pay attention to the actions that are triggering breath issues, there are plenty of ways you can decrease its severity. Here at Surf City Dental, we’re committed to keeping our patients’ mouths in the best shape possible, and that includes making sure their breath stays fresh. So, take a moment to revitalize your daily dental routine – it will keep your teeth happy and your breath refreshed!