It’s almost summertime, and we’re very close to being able to take our face masks off for good. But thanks to those face masks, you’ve spent the last year smelling your own breath and whew—something’s gotta change quickly.
You can have the best oral hygiene routine and still find yourself with bad breath. Sometimes identifying the culprit is as easy as recognizing yourself as a chronic garlic fries devourer. But when you brush twice a day and stay away from the smellier vegetables, and you still feel the need to chew an entire pack of gum, something else is probably to blame.
For this article, we’ll assume that you already thoroughly brush your teeth. If not, it’s time to get your toothbrush back in action.
Causes of Bad Breath
Cavities or Gum Disease
Chronic bad breath can be a sign of a cavity or gum disease. The bacteria that cause halitosis can hide in small pockets in your teeth and gums, making it extremely difficult to brush them away.
If your bath breath is accompanied by sensitive teeth or gums, then it’s time to see a dentist. Additionally, if you see small holes on the tops of your teeth or you can slide floss really far down into your gums, you may want to see a dentist to take care of potential issues while they’re small.
If your saliva glands don’t generate enough saliva, it can lead to dry mouth. In turn, dry mouth can lead to bad breath.
Saliva assists with multiple functions in your mouth, such as breaking down food, chewing, swallowing, and speaking. It also manages the level of bacteria in your mouth, and less saliva equals more bacteria.
Dry mouth can occur naturally, but tobacco use, alcohol use, and certain medications can increase your chance of dry mouth.
The official name for acid reflux is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This condition causes food in your stomach to flow back into your esophagus. It is often accompanied by heartburn and a bitter taste in the mouth. Your lunch’s return to your esophagus causes bad breath.
Some cases of acid reflux can be taken care of with an over-the-counter acid reducer. Severe cases may require the aid of a specialist, so talk to your primary care doctor about your options.
Other Health Conditions
Certain health conditions can lead to bad breath because of chemical changes in your bloodstream or changes in the bacteria levels within your body.
Conditions that have been known to lead to bad breath include:
⇒ Kidney failure
⇒ Liver failure
⇒ Peptic ulcers
⇒ Intestinal blockage
Especially during the winter, bad breath can be caused by postnasal drip. When you suffer from a sinus infection, a cold, flu, or strep throat, mucus can drip from the back of your nose into your throat. This mucus attracts bacteria and makes your breath stinky.
If you’re at home treating an illness, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is brushing your teeth. But if you can continue your oral health routine, you’ll reduce your chances of having bad breath when you bounce back.
We stated that tobacco use can lead to dry mouth, but smoking cigarettes can directly cause bad breath. Tobacco smoke can linger in your mouth and stick to your breath for a while after you toss the butt.
Your Retainer or Mouthguard
In no way are we saying that it’s time to ditch your retainers, aligners, or nightguards. But you do need to clean them and replace them regularly.
If you still rock the neon retainer you got when you got your braces taken off at 14-years old, kudos to you. But when was the last time you washed it? We don’t even wanna know. You may be using aligners to correct crooked teeth as an adult, or you may have something else you use nightly to keep your teeth straight. It doesn’t matter when you got it; it matters that you clean it.
You can brush your retainer like you brush your teeth, or you can boil it for a few minutes in hot water. You can even use a denture solution to keep it clean. But it’s important to clean off the bacteria living on the retainer.
The same thing goes for your dental nightguard.
If you use a mouthguard for Bruxism, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), it needs to be cleaned or replaced to prevent the spread of bacteria.
If you bought a mouthguard from your dentist, chances are you aren’t going to pay to replace it any time soon. In that case, it needs to be cleaned frequently.
If you use a boil and bite or another over-the-counter nightguard, cleaning it will only go so far. Since boil and bite guards lose their shape when they’re boiled, you can’t use hot water to clean them. These generic mouthguards should be replaced every month, but that can run up a hefty bill.
A third option is to order a custom mouthguard from a reputable online company. These guards can be easily cleaned, and with specific plans, can be replaced every three months at a small cost. You get a happy medium, a clean mouth, and a reduced chance of bad breath. Everybody wins!
In short, if it’s something that hangs out in your mouth every night, not cleaning or replacing it can cause halitosis.
Other At-Home Remedies For Bad Breath
If you want to keep your breath smelling like springtime, you can:
⇒ Keep brushing twice a day with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste
⇒ Use floss or dental picks to keep your teeth clean during the day
⇒ Use a tongue scraper in addition to your regular oral hygiene routine
⇒ Use mouthwash or a baking soda rinse
⇒ Eat healthy foods and limit processed sugar
⇒ Visit your dentist regularly to make sure there’s nowhere for bacteria to hide
⇒ Drink more water (which solves a lot of problems)
⇒ Drink pineapple juice – many people claim that this neutralizes mouth odor!
If you’re looking for a better alternative to your current nightguard situation, it’s time to get Cheeky.