Bad breath is like a broken tail light on your car: You don’t know it’s there until someone embarrassingly points it out. And both require fast action. The problem: Gum usually just masks the scent of a smelly mouth. You have to find the culprit—which is sometimes easier said than done. Gingivitis (a.k.a. gum disease) is a common cause, says Tina Giannacopoulos, a dentist at Boston Dental. (If you have it, you’ll likely notice bleeding and inflamed or receding gums.) That not the issue? Don’t overlook these seven other possible reasons why you have dragon breath.
1. You’re Taking Certain Drugs
“Medications for high blood pressure, antidepressants, and antihistamines can have side effects of xerostomia or dry mouth,” says Giannacopoulos. “This can lead to bad breath, as saliva is necessary to wash away food particles from the oral cavity.” You see, saliva keeps your mouth moist, neutralizes acids, and washes away dead cells that build up (ew, but necessary). A lack of it means food particles, cells, and bacteria accumulate and stink up the joint. If you’re on a med that’s drying you out, drink tons of water and chew gum with xylitol in it, which can help add moisture, Giannacopoulos says.
2. You’re Hungry
So busy you skipped lunch? Well, thanks to that lovely lack of saliva that can come about from a dearth of food, you may pay for your oversight with foul-smelling breath (and getting seriously hangry).
3. You’ve Got a Mouth Infection
Mouth infections mean loads of bacteria, which—when they decompose—can release odors of sulfur, says Giannacopoulos. If you think you could have an infection like pericoronitis, which is inflammation of the soft tissue around the crown of a tooth, it’s time to clean up your oral hygiene habits and see your dentist.
4. You’re Brushing and Flossing All Wrong
Truth: Most of us are brushing and flossing completely incorrectly—and this causes food particles to build up, says Giannacopoulos. “Trapped food particles accelerate the growth of bacteria and cause inflammation, leading to bad breath,” she says. A quick brush-up on brushing: “Hold the brush horizontally against your teeth and tilt it at a 45-degree angle,” says Giannacopoulos. “Move the toothbrush in short horizontal strokes.” You should do this twice a day for two minutes each time. As for flossing? “Gentle and thorough are key words,” says Giannacopoulos. The floss should go slightly under your gum line and hug each tooth. “Brushing alone misses almost half of the tooth surfaces, so flossing is also a must,” she says.
6. You Haven’t Had Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Holding on to your wisdom teeth? These teeth and the operculum—the piece of gum over wisdom teeth that are growing in—can trap food and bacteria and become infected, which can contribute to stinky breath, says Giannacopoulos. It’s best to ask your dentist if you need yours out. And if you think you have an infection, you could need antibiotics.
7. You Have a Cavity
Here’s a good case for keeping a date with your dentist every six months: “Sometimes untreated cavities can cause sensitivity and pain; however, sometimes they can go unnoticed,” says Giannacopoulos. And if you have one, you might give off some stink. “Bacteria essentially eats away at tooth structure and release odors,” she says. So stay up to date on your cleanings—clinical dental exams and X-rays can ID cavities.
1. Brush Your Mouth OftenNot just your teeth, you should brush everything in your mouth. Your gums, your tongue, the roof of your mouth. All of these things need to be brushed and brushed often. This will help keep your teeth cleaner longer and prevent germs from taking root.
2. Floss OftenAs most dentists will tell you, flossing is a good thing to do to keep your teeth clean. Brushing can clean the surfaces, but can't do much for the spaces in between. You need to floss to get a totally clean, and you should floss at least once a day.
3. Eat A Teeth-Friendly DietMost people indulge in sugary foods because they taste good. However, sometimes the best tasting foods can be the most harmful to your teeth. Things like sodas, candies, and other sugary items should be consumed in moderation.
Concierge dentistry is about providing you the dental care you need in a manner that is expedient and convenient. That means that those who specialize in concierge dentistry must have a deep understanding of both general dentistry and cosmetic practices.
More Attentive Care
When it comes to your time, concierge dental groups understand how important it is. Since these services take on fewer clients, they are able to give you a greater level of care, meaning that they can accomplish more in one appointment than many dental offices can in three.
High powered jobs are highly visible jobs. That means that you are constantly needing to look your best. Stains on your teeth or a gap can do a great deal to undermine your sense of confidence.