Bad breath is an inescapable part of our daily lives. It rears its ugly head when your neighbor enters your personal space to spark a conversation about his prized lawn flamingos, or worse, when ordering a sandwich causes the cashier to wince.
According to the NYU College of Dentistry at least half of the adult population has had bad breath at one point and just about everyone has it in the morning. 90% of the foul odor is caused by bacteria in your mouth which releases odorous compounds when food is broken down. Bacteria makes its home on your tongue where it thrives at night when your mouth is dry to work its smelly magic for you to wake up to.
Causes of Bad Breath
Eating and not eating can cause bacteria to form. The time intervals after you eat a meal allow bacteria to accumulate in your oral cavity because not enough saliva is produce normal cleansing. For an easy fix try chewing sugar-free gum to combat dry mouth.
Bad breath doesn’t always come from the mouth. When foods like garlic and onion are processed by the liver, their odor is not expelled from your mouth, rather by perspiration and through your lungs. If you notice a bad odor which comes from exhaling, this could be a sign of something systemic and can indicate an underlying medical condition such as liver disease or diabetes.
Bad Breath Prevention
You can detect bad breath by licking the back of your hand, letting the saliva dry for 10 seconds then smelling. Blowing into your hand won’t allow you to accurately gauge the quality of your breath since we are too accustomed to the smell of our mouths to be able to detect a foul smell.
Curing bad breath is luckily quite easy. Since it stems from the accumulation of plaque in your tongue’s folds (especially toward the back), use a tongue scraper twice daily to eliminate it.
Another great way to leave your breath smelling fresh is to rinse with mouthwash. Be sure to stay away from solutions which use alcohol to kill bacteria, instead gargle with a solution containing zinc chloride one daily. Usually a bottle with a concentrated green or blue color will lead you to the right stuff.