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Has anyone you love ever complained about your breath? Are you self-conscious because your breath is less than fresh? If you struggle with bad breath, it can be caused by something as simple as the food you eat and something a little trickier like the medications you take. Read on to discover why your breath may smell and what you can do about it!

Diet Choices: As you chew your food and break it down, it increases the bacteria production in your mouth contributing to breath odor. Eating foods like spices, onions, or garlic make your breath smell. Even digesting these foods can make your breath smell because it enters your bloodstream and travels to your lungs where it affects your breath. Drinking lots of coffee will also leave a strong residue on the back of your tongue where bacteria accumulates. And finally, diets that can affect the metabolism like extreme fasting and extra-low carb diets make your breath unpleasant.

Poor Hygiene: Brushing and flossing every day is the foundation of good oral health. If you don’t clean your teeth and gums regularly, food particles are left behind that encourage bacterial growth. Brushing and flossing removes this colorless, sticky bacterial film (plaque) which traps bacteria and causes odors.

Tobacco Use: If you smoke tobacco, it can leave a strong, unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth. Many smokers also have gum disease which contributes to bad breath along with the tobacco odor.

Dry Mouth: Saliva production is integral to a healthy mouth. Saliva cleans the mouth, so if saliva production is down you are susceptible to “dry mouth” which contributes to bad breath. Dry mouth actually happens every time you sleep, and that is why you wake up with unpleasant “morning breath”. Dry mouth can also be caused by taking certain medications that act as diuretics, lack of hydration, consuming alcohol and using tobacco.

Oral Infections: Sores in the mouth, tooth decay, gum disease, or recent oral surgery contribute to unpleasant mouth odors. Sinus infections, post nasal drip, diseases like cancer and metabolic disorders including acid reflux can all cause bad breath.

What You Can Do

–It is vital to brush and floss twice daily, and be sure to clean your tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper helps remove bacteria.

–Use an antibacterial mouthwash to fight bad breath while lowering bacteria.

–If you are a smoker, consider a smoking cessation program and limit your consumption of alcohol.

–To help clear debris in the mouth by snacking on raw apple slices, celery, or carrots.

–Avoid garlic and onions and heavy spices as much as possible.

–Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water and avoid diuretics to maintain saliva production and avoid dry mouth.

–Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production in between meals and make your breath smell fresh.

–See your dentist twice a year to remove the hardened plaque (tartar) off your pearly whites as well as rule out gum disease.

If you have any questions or would like to be seen by Dr. Kerry Olszewski, please call our Mill Creek General Dentistry staff today at 425-337-5549!