Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from bad breath? Of course no one wants stinky breath, but what can be done to fix it?Start with the likely source— the bacteria in your mouth. Regular visits to the dentist will prevent cavities and gum problems, called periodontal disease, that can cause your breath to turn sour.
At least twice a day, brush your teeth, gums, the roof of your mouth and tongue, especially the very back of the tongue.And don't forget to floss! Food trapped between teeth, dentures, or braces will decay, causing a foul odor.
Steven Drescher, D.D.S:
I've asked some patients to show me how they floss and they just flick flick flick flick.You don't just get the floss in and out.I mean actually when you get the floss in, you want to wrap around the tooth and go up and down a couple of times to give a scrubbing motion and then you wrap around the back of the next one.
Stay away from alcoholic beverages and foods with a strong odor like garlic, onions or pastrami.And it's a no-brainer that your mouth will smell like an ash tray if you smoke or use snuff or chewing tobacco.Drink lots of water. When you're dehydrated, your body slows saliva production. Yet it's the saliva in your mouth that help flush out bacteria and the stench they cause.In fact, ever wonder why you and your loved ones always have bad breath in the morning? It's because your body slows most saliva production during sleep.Check with your doctor about your meds. Some medications are notorious for limiting saliva and causing a dry, and therefore smelly mouth.
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Dieting can also cause bad breath. Many of today's low-carb diets produce smelly ketones as the body breaks down fat.And chewing encourages saliva, so when you cut back on eating, there's less saliva to flush away bacteria.Fix the problem by adding some carbs or eating small regular meals and chew sugarless gum after meals or if your mouth is dry. Because of the chewing action, gum works better than mints.If you still can't get rid of your bad breath, it's time for a checkup. Uncontrolled blood sugars from diabetes can produce a strong fruity breath odor.Strep throat, sinus infections, lung and liver disorders, and throat or mouth cancers are just some of the diseases that can cause chronic bad breath. For WebMD, I'm Sandee LaMotte.