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Eating certain foods and not maintaining good dental care can have a result that most people experience at some point - bad breath.
But while smelly breath following a meal sprinkled generously with garlic can be easily remedied, there are oral health concerns to consider when bad breath becomes a regular problem. When it's serious, it actually has a more official name - halitosis or malodor.
According to the American Dental Association, ongoing bad breath can stem simply from bad dental hygiene. Not cleaning teeth or dentures properly can leave food particles in the mouth that breed bacteria and bad smells. Cavities, the initial stages of gum disease and cracked fillings may be other culprits.
The best remedy to dental problems is to have regular check-ups with a dentist. But many families struggle to pay dentist bills and often have no dental insurance because of the high cost of premiums. A good alternative is the less costly discount dental plans that offer many dentistry services at reduced prices.
More serious causes
Ailments that have seemingly no connection to dentistry may also cause bad breath due to inflammation in the body brought on by tooth decay and bad gums. Diabetes, liver disease, respiratory infections and chronic bronchitis are among them. Some, like acid reflux, may be remedied by medication.
Medications themselves may be the problem, according to SheKnows.com. Many cause people to develop a common reaction called dry mouth. It's uncomfortable, distasteful and allows bacteria to thrive. Check with a healthcare provider to see whether medications can be changed to prevent dry mouth from developing.
Curbing smelly breath
If bad breath is an occasional occurrence and stems from no more than a lapse in the daily dental routine recommended by your family dentist, there are steps that can end it.
For instance, few people think of their tongue in the same league as teeth and gums when it comes to brushing twice daily. But that part of the mouth has the ability to harbor more smelly bacteria than the rest of the mouth. Including a few scrapes with a tongue scraper or toothbrush during daily cleanings can rid the mouth of the bacteria and the smell that goes with it.
Drinking a glass of water may be the easiest way to reduce bad breath when one is out and about. Particularly if someone is having a bout of dry mouth, rinsing the mouth thoroughly with water is the quickest way to reduce bad breath. The rinse will allow saliva to develop and help to wash away bacteria that's accumulated.
Do's and don'ts
Another item that creates saliva and seemingly helps eliminate smelly breath may do just the opposite. Breath mints may taste and smell good, but they usually contain enough sugar to sabotage the job they set out to do. Sugar that coats the teeth and gums can actually create more bacteria and bad breath so using breath mints should be avoided.
A good alternative following a meal is to chew sugarless gum, which will stimulate saliva but won't leave a sugary residue.
Smelly breath may be just the reason some people need to break bad habits. Drinking too much coffee, for instance, stains the teeth and its smell is difficult to rid from the mouth. Smoking and chewing tobacco is also a big contributor to stained teeth, and it usually leaves a foul smell behind. Drinking alcohol excessively can create a bad case of dry mouth that continues for hours after the drinking has stopped.
To offset these conditions, foods like carrots, apples slices and celery act as natural cleansers for the mouth by scraping the teeth of built-up plaque and producing saliva.
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