You have likely had the experience of speaking to someone whose breath was so bad that you were looking for a way to cut the conversation short, or you were desperately wishing you could offer them a piece of gum without coming off as offensive. It is easy to see that bad breath is not an attractive trait in others, so how do you tell if your breath is bad, and if it is, how do we get rid of it?

How to Tell if You Have Bad Breath

If your breath is bad, it is often the case that you can not smell it. So, if bad breath is hard to discover on your own, and if most people find bad breath offensive, how do you know if you are an offender.

First, you have to realize that the air that is being pushed out of your body by your lungs is moving away from you. This is what makes it difficult to smell your own breath. To overcome this, you should look for something that can direct the airflow back toward your nose. This can be done with a mask or a piece of paper. Some people try using their hand to redirect the air, but you will find that it is better to use something that does not have other smells associated with it the way that your hand does.

Second, realize that while you may get an idea of how your breath smells by directing the air back toward your nose, the only real test is to ask someone. If you don’t have a friend you feel like you can ask about this, you can always ask a trusted dentist.

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath also known as halitosis can have a few different causes. It can be caused by the foods you eat, your oral health habits or your general health.

  • Foods You Eat

The food that you eat can cause bad breath in two different ways. First, particles of food that get stuck in your teeth can cause bacteria to build up. This bacteria is a major cause of bad breath. Second, oils in your food can be absorbed into your blood stream and carried to your lungs which causes the odor to be given off in your breath.

  • Oral Health

Bacteria can be a major cause of bad breath. Using an antibacterial mouth wash can keep the bacteria down and eliminate a good amount of the odor. Remember to brush your tongue because it acts like a sponge and can hold on to bad smells and bacteria.

  • General Health

Any sort of infection in your mouth, sinuses or throat can cause bad breath. The causes of the smell can be the bacteria or the discharge caused by the infection. Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth or dehydration. Staying hydrated with caffeine free beverages (preferably water) can significantly cut down on bad breath.

Four Steps to Get Rid of Bad Breath

  • Step One

Avoid foods that directly cause bad breath. Foods like onions, garlic and spicy food are notorious for causing breath that is less than desirable. The difficult thing with many of these foods is that it takes more than just brushing your teeth to rid your breath of the smell. Remember how I talked before about food entering the blood stream and making its way to the lungs? These foods are prime example of that.

Remember that while some foods are notorious for causing bad breath, others can cause bad breath in the same way, but are less known to cause bad breath like fish, pizza and other foods with a high oil content.

  • Step Two

Stay hydrated! Dehydration can allow bacteria to live longer in your mouth without getting washed away by your saliva. As bacteria builds up it can start to cause bad breath, so getting rid of bacteria as quickly as possible is always advisable.

  • Step Three

Be mindful of ketosis. Ketosis is the fat burning state. During ketosis your body releases chemicals in your breath called ketones. These ketones are the reason that your breath gets worse when you are on a low carb diet or if you have missed a meal or two. If you are trying to impress someone, it might be a good idea to account for ketosis by scheduling your carb consumption around a meeting with said person.

  • Step Four

Get rid of the bacteria. Good oral hygiene habits can do a lot to keep bad breath at bay. Remember to brush, floss, use an antibacterial mouth wash and see your dental hygienist twice per year for your dental cleanings. If bad breath persists, you can discuss additional options with your dentist and your dental hygienist.

Need Additional Help With Halitosis?

It is nearly impossible to avoid bad breath all together. Understanding bad breath can help you plan so that you have good breath when you really need it. It is always a good idea to carry chewing gum or a pocket size bottle of Listerine around in case of an “emergency”.

If you have tried the things listed in this article and you are still struggling with bad breath, call Oxford Dental Care today at (208)529-0420, or click the button below to request a consultation.