Halitosis, the scientific term for bad breath, can be a deal breaker. Add in the stress of holiday shopping, traffic, and meeting with relatives, and it can quickly become unbearable, but it doesn’t have to be.
Most people who brush regularly think they’re immune to bad breath, but that’s actually far from the truth. Not brushing properly after meals is just one of several factors that contribute to bad breath. Despite what gum and mint advertisements would have you believe, there are far more effective methods of combatting it.
Much like a man or woman with too much cologne or perfume, a person with bad breath usually isn’t aware of it. This has to do with how the sense of smell works. Things that gradually build up, or are overwhelming, tend to be blocked out by the brain, and so aren’t noticed. This results in more cologne or perfume, or in the case of bad breath, believing that everything is OK after a quick brush or mouth rinse.
Low blood sugar is also a contributing factor, as occurs when skipping breakfast or lunch. Consumption of alcohol, smoking, and stress are other contributing factors that most people don’t consider. Often, a meal, or just a bit of relaxation, can help to combat bad breath. In fact, the overwhelming majority of cases dentists see are treatable, or are simply due to improper dental hygiene. At the dentist, many times something as simple as teeth cleaning can fix the problem.
According to award winning dentist Chetan Kaher from SmileCliniq in London, “Bad breath isn’t an issue, as long as you follow some simple rules.”
Dr. Kaher recommends:
- Visit your dentist, as a dental clinic sees thousands of patients each year, and can recommend effective and lasting treatments. This is one of the first steps you should consider.
- Check your nose, because there can be nasal secretions, particularly in the case of a sinus infection, which contribute to bad breath. Saline washes are an effective method, but in select cases the assistance of a specialist may be required.
- Make sure your tonsils aren’t contributing, as bacteria can accumulate on them, contributing to bad breath. In most cases a dentist can assist with this.
- Pay attention to your diet, as some foods introduce chemicals into the blood stream that are later released through the lungs, creating bad breath. Avoiding such foods, or making sure your date is eating them too, is the most effective way to prevent this form of bad breath.
- The last consideration is the stomach. If you have problems, such as recurring indigestion, this can contribute to gas buildup, leaving breath quite unpleasant. If dietary measures don’t fix it, a visit to the specialist might be in order.
In most cases, however, good dental habits, combined with regular meals, limited alcohol intake, and the elimination of smoking are effective controls for bad breath. According to the National Institute of Health, in most cases bad breath can be managed with proper dental care, though mouthwashes don’t actually treat the underlying conditions. They also recommend chewing fresh parsley, which is one of the reasons you’ll often find it on your plate in restaurants.
For most people, bad breath is temporary, and easily remedied. Like most things in life, it just requires a little care and attention. The more you care about your breath, the less attention it will draw. Just make sure you don’t have parsley stuck in your teeth if you’re on a date or in a business meeting. Also, don’t forget to keep up with dental hygiene before the holiday rush. You’d be surprised at how busy the dentist’s office is during the holiday season.