You’re a busy mom. You balance kids, partner, and job in a delicate balancing act. The last thing that you need to deal with is a raging case of bad breath. So, when this condition strikes, what’s a woman to do?
We reached out for expert advice from Dr. Holly Gregory, a mom of four young children and a practicing family dentist in Kingwood, TX for her advice on dealing with the embarrassment medically known as halitosis. Here’s what she shared.
Halitosis is quite common around the world, affecting about 25% of the population. It manifests itself with unpleasant breath that extends over a long period of time. The sad thing is that the condition cannot be eliminated using breath mints or even by brushing your teeth all the time. It occurs when bacteria found naturally along the gum begins to process food particles left behind after eating. Even though it’s rather embarrassing, it is essential to remember that you can get rid of the problem by adhering to a few simple steps.
Maintain dental hygiene
The easiest and most effective way of conquering halitosis is by ensuring you maintain strict dental hygiene. This need for diligence is because, as mentioned before, halitosis develops due to the breakdown of foods by bacteria in the mouth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes, preferably once before going to bed. In so doing, you eliminate food particles that the bacteria process. Also, remember to clean between the teeth using dental floss to remove debris that your toothbrush cannot reach. If you are already suffering from halitosis, then a toothpaste with some antibacterial properties or an antibacterial mouthwash would be preferred to help reduce the infection.
Drink the recommended amount of water
The recommended amount of water is often cited as eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day which is about 2 liters. Other sources recommend more, but it really depends on the individual. All the same, the advantages of taking enough water also extend to treating halitosis because it removes food particles in the mouth and also helps to digest food in the mouth. You may also be suffering from dry mouth caused by taking excess caffeine, smoking tobacco, alcohol and even some medications. This is why you should also be aware of the root cause of your symptoms.
When you smoke, the tobacco itself leaves an odor on your breath. Add to that, it makes your mouth dry allowing food particles to remain on your teeth and, worse, can lead to gum disease. Basically, you make it a priority to quit smoking if you want to regain your fresh, minty breath.
Don’t forget to visit your dentist
Despite taking all the measures above, plaque still builds up on your teeth. This is because, even after brushing your teeth, some microscopic bacteria remain behind and accumulate over time to form a microfilm that leads to some discoloration. Tartar can also start to form when saliva and gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) leave minerals on your teeth, also causing discoloration. It is advised that you visit your dentist twice annually so that you can get professional teeth cleaning. Using scrapers and brushes, your dentist will completely wipe out any deposits left behind on your teeth and leave them completely clean. Regular dental visits can also help identify other issues with your teeth beforehand. This makes it easier for treatment to be administered in time.
Another smart reason to visit your dentist is to have your teeth checked for cavities and gum disease. When you have either of these conditions, bacteria find extra pockets to hide inside your mouth, from where they can contribute to halitosis.
Furthermore, these pockets cannot be accessed by your toothbrush, so food particles stay there longer causing seriously bad breath. By seeing your dentist regularly, they can coach you on dental hygiene and identify when you have either cavities or gum disease early and take the necessary steps to treat it. This could be through filling the cavities, dental crowns or a root canal.
Check for other causes of bad breath
Finally, chronic bad breath can be a symptom of a deeper seated problem such as liver or kidney disease, diabetes, gastric reflux or an infection. If the above interventions fail to produce results, then you may need to check for other underlying conditions.
Bad breath can affect the quality of your life and those around you. It may dent your self-esteem too. But there are quick solutions that can deal with it once and for all. The most important thing to remember is that this is a very common problem. There is nothing to be embarrassed by during your dental exam. As long as you are taking urgent steps to address the issue, you are good to go.