Different from morning breath, bad breath (commonly called “halitosis” and scientifically called “oral malodor”) is characterized by having a noticeable and unpleasant odor emanating from the mouth. This odor is most often related to periodontal disease or the accumulation of bacteria and food debris in the oral cavity.
Depending on the cause of your bad breath, there are all kinds of home remedies you can try to fix it. However, if your bad breath is due to some underlying health issues, we recommend setting an appointment with your Vancouver dentist as soon as possible.
Who Has Bad Breath?
Anywhere from 8%-50% of the adult population in developed countries self-reports having either persistent or recurrent episodes of halitosis. Though some small percentage of self-reported cases are considered “imaginary halitosis” because the only person who notices the smell is the patient themself, the majority of self-reports are accurate; approximately one in four people regularly have bad breath.
Despite its (perceived) prevalence, few Canadians ever seek professional treatment for halitosis, whether at a dental office in Vancouver or at another medical office. This is not surprising, given that about one-third of BC residents do not have a regular dentist and many residents express a significant preference for only seeking dental care for emergencies.
Why can’t you smell your own breath?
While there is no solid explanation for why most people can’t smell their own breath, it is likely because of sensory adaptation.
Since you are used to smelling your own breath, it stops registering as something new. Your senses are more attuned to aromatic or dangerous smells since they prepare your fight or flight response.
So, if your bad breath stays consistent for days, you might become immune to it.
Anatomy could also be playing a part in it. Your mouth and nose are connected at the back of your mouth. Therefore, your body has no reason to try and identify the smell from the front.
A good way to smell your breath is to lick your wrist and wait for the saliva to dry. Once it’s dry, you can take a whiff, and you might get some idea about the smell.
The Secret To Fixing Bad Breath Yourself
Most people would much rather fix their bad breath at home than have to any dental office in their local area. To be successful in this endeavor, it is important to target the main cause of halitosis the same way a dentist would.
In most cases (80%-90%), halitosis originates in the mouth rather than resulting from more systemic health conditions, like kidney disease or acid reflux. In these cases, the most common root causes of oral-originating halitosis are (1) failure to fully and effectively remove the bacterial coating on the tongue and (2) periodontal disease, including tooth decay and gum disease.
It follows, then, that the most widely applicable and most effective remedies for this type of halitosis involve making specific changes to daily dental hygiene practices.
Tricks For Fixing Bad Breath
- If Your Bad Breath Comes From A Persistent Tongue Coating: Perhaps the easiest-to-identify cause of halitosis, a persistent tongue coating will feel slimy, thick, or sticky, and can be removed by brushing with a toothbrush, scraping with a tongue-scraper, and/or using a high-quality oral mouth rinse.
- If Your Bad Breath Comes From Food Debris & Plaque Between The Teeth: One key sign your bad breath is coming from food debris and plaque is if it smells faintly fecal, In this case, flossing and brushing more frequently, especially after meals, can effectively fix your bad breath from home.
- If Your Bad Breath Comes From Debris Trapped In Your Tonsils: Tonsils are naturally full of large pores that can trap plaque and food matter. Left untreated, these materials can solidify into tonsil stones that not only smell but will require professional removal at a qualified dental office. Gargling with salt water and staying hydrated, as well as improved brushing practices can cure tonsil-related halitosis before it becomes unmanageable at home.
- If Your Bad Breath Comes From Gum Disease: Sometimes, mild gum disease can be cured at home by using saltwater rinses and other effective oral rinses. Other moderately effective at-home treatments may include applying turmeric gel to the affected gums or practicing “oil pulling” (which involves swishing coconut oil around in the mouth for 30 minutes a day). That said, gum disease can be especially challenging to manage from home.
- If Your Bad Breath Comes From Tooth Decay: In its early stages, tooth decay can be reversed by making significant healthy changes to your dental hygiene practices. This can involve changing how and how often you brush your teeth, what oral cleaning products you use, and even what foods you eat most regularly. Additionally, given that green tea extract has some significant effect on reducing one of the primary strains of bacteria involved in tooth decay (and associated with halitosis), rinsing with green tea extract may help reduce bad breath stemming from tooth decay.
5 Ways To Freshen Your Breath Without A Toothbrush
1. Use Floss sticks
Floss sticks are the perfect mixture between floss and tongue scrapers. You can use them to remove food particles and use them to scrape your tongue. Keep a couple of them in your purse, and you can discreetly take care of your dental hygiene.
While you do not have to throw away a single floss stick after using it, you may feel better by using a new one.
Yogurt isn’t the most on-the-go material, but you can keep a small container in your office’s refrigerator, can’t you?
The probiotics in yogurt fight the bacteria in your mouth. As your bacteria lowers, so does the hydrogen sulfide in your mouth.
Yes, one of the most simple remedies for bad breath is a glass of water. Especially if your bad breath is due to a dry mouth, water replenishes the saliva in your mouth.
For added effect, you can boil water and mix salt into it. Then, if you can sneak into the bathroom and gargle it, the bad breath won’t be coming back for some time. You can carry a hot water bottle for this purpose.
4. Mint or gum
This isn’t a solution to the underlying issues of bad breath. However, a mouth freshener such as mint or gum does refresh your breath for a couple of hours.
Since you can find gum packs at every convenience store, they are one of the most easily accessible items. However, if you have some kind of dental infection, you should be careful about chewing gum. More so if you’re experiencing discomfort.
5. Avoid food with a strong smell
You can brush all you want, but if you eat food with garlic or onion in it, the bad breath is likely to continue to invade your day for some time.
Avoid eating food that has a strong smell when you are out. The best way to fix bad breath temporarily is not to eat anything that causes it in the first place.
What Not To Do: Don’t Ignore Persistent Halitosis
In some cases, the most effective treatment for persistent bad breath will be to work with a qualified dental office in Vancouver like Smile Well Dental. That way, a qualified dentist and/or dental hygienist can provide specific recommendations and even prescription treatments to cure halitosis and prevent its recurrence.
Contact Us today at 778-340-2897.