Nothing ruins a romantic moment like bad breath. In order to make sure you have a sweet Valentine’s Day, follow these tips for fresh breath. Most of them will address large deposits of bacteria because bacteria in the mouth are the chief cause of bad breath.
See your dental hygienist for a professional teeth cleaning.
If you are overdue for a professional teeth cleaning, most likely you have some plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. Housed within this buildup is bacteria that produces a stinky odor. During a professional teeth cleaning, the hygienist removes all bacterial buildup from the teeth, leaving you with a clean slate.
Follow through with any necessary dental treatment.
The most common cause of persistent bad breath is dental disease, including cavities and gum disease. Both conditions involve large numbers of bacteria. If you have untreated cavities and/or gum disease, you are harboring bad-breath-inducing bugs in your mouth. When you follow through with the necessary dental treatments, you allow your dentist to clean out the collections of bacteria causing both these dental problems and the bad breath itself.
Brush up on your oral hygiene techniques.
This one is particularly important in children and teens, who may slack off a little on their daily oral hygiene routines. Often their cursory brushing leaves plaque buildup along the gums. Plaque is bumpy and sticky and attracts more plaque.
Make sure you are brushing in a way that allows the bristles of your toothbrush to touch the junction between the teeth and gums. Also pay attention when you’re brushing to make sure you are touching every exposed surface of every tooth in your mouth with the bristles. Only brushing the outside of the teeth will not freshen your breath.
We know . . . no one likes to floss. But if you do NOT floss every night, you are leaving smelly bacterial buildup between the teeth. If you have an area between the teeth that consistently catches food, neglecting to floss turns that area into a major bad breath spot. Imagine a kitchen trash can with rotting food . . .
Fight dry mouth.
Patients who suffer from dry mouth, whether as a result of salivary dysfunction or as a side effect of prescription medication, have a much higher risk for bad breath. Dry mouth leads to increased bacterial buildup because it lacks the protective influence of saliva.
If your mouth is consistently dry, stay hydrated and avoid alcohol, caffeine and sodas (which all increase dehydration). There are several over-the-counter oral care products that help address the problem of dry mouth. Biotene oral hygiene products and Xylimelts can both help you keep your mouth moisturized.
Chew sugar-free gum.
This one goes along with #5 because it is one of the most effective ways of fighting dry mouth. When you chew sugar-free gum, especially with a strong flavor, you stimulate your body’s natural production of saliva.
We recommend chewing a strong mint-flavored sugar-free gum after meals when you cannot brush and floss right away.
Use alcohol-free mouthrinse.
Many people mistakenly think that the stronger the mouthwash (feel the burn!), the more it kills bacteria and promotes fresh breath. Unfortunately, this myth can lead to more dry mouth and bad breath. Alcohol, contained in many over-the-counter mouthrinses, has a drying effect on the oral tissues. Very strong, tingly mouthwashes produce a quick masking effect over bad breath odors, that dissipates within a half hour or less.
Your mouth is better off with rinsing plain tap water than swishing a strong alcohol mouthwash.
Do You Need Help with Persistent Bad Breath?
Call 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara or a professional teeth cleaning with our dental hygienists!