Help, I have bad breath!
We've all had moments when we would have loved to chew gum or suck a peppermint candy after we've eaten something. Or do you have the feeling that you cannot get rid of your bad breath? One in two is occasionally affected by unpleasant smelling breath, but it is still taboo to point it out to someone or even to complain about your own suffering. But the solutions to permanent bad breath are easier than you might think!
What causes bad breath?
Contrary to the widespread belief that bad breath is caused by the stomach, tonsils or metabolism, 85% of people with bad breath are caused by poor oral hygiene. But this cannot be generalised: The causes of bad breath, medically called halitosis, are many and varied. Mostly, however, they are caused by bacteria that cause an imbalance in the oral flora. To be more precise, the harmonious interaction of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria in the mouth is then out of balance and the latter are in the majority. It is precisely these anaerobic bacteria that get by without oxygen, feel most comfortable in the spaces between the teeth and on the tongue and feed on protein-rich and sugary food leftovers. This means that your diet plays a very important role, because foods such as fish, meat, eggs, dairy products and chocolate are particularly tasty to the bacteria. The more of these foods you consume, the more intensively the bacteria multiply and expel this unpleasant smelling sulphur compound, which we call bad breath.
What tips and tricks are there to get rid of bad breath?
1. Brush your teeth regularly
Plaque and tartar are among the main causes of bad breath. Brush your teeth regularly and thoroughly. Studies show that electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual toothbrushes. At least twice a day and for at least two minutes, you should take time to brush your teeth so that all plaque is thoroughly removed from the tooth surfaces. Dental care starts with brushing your teeth, but it goes beyond that. Integrate dental floss and mouthwashes e.g. with mint oil, into your daily oral hygiene to effectively combat bad breath. Especially mouthwashes help you keep your teeth and gums hygienic and healthy in hard-to-reach areas. In addition, it is recommended that you go to the dentist twice a year for aeine professional dental clean-upfor comprehensive individual prophylaxis.
2.You are what you eat!
Apart from brushing your teeth and visiting the doctor, it is important to pay attention to what you eat. As described above, bad eating habits have a major influence on the smelly air you breathe. Especially the most common form of bad breath, odour ex ore“ (Latin term for bad smell from the mouth), is mostly caused by these anaerobic bacteria.
In addition to the moderate consumption of bacteria-promoting foods, the consumption of raw foods such as carrots, apples and celery can help loosen food residues and refresh your teeth. The fibrous skin acts like a brush, which also helps you fight plaque and discolouration. Hard-working chewing also stimulates your saliva flow and rinses your mouth with it. In our artice aboutnutritionyou will find a lot more information about how food can affect your oral hygiene.
3. Try it with a tongue scraper
A tongue scraper is a tool for cleaning and caring for the tongue, which removes plaque from the surface of the tongue easily, gently and without side effects.
The front two thirds of your tongue come into frequent contact with the palate by speaking and swallowing, keeping it quite clean. The back third of your tongue, on the other hand, can easily get a coating of leftover food. This breeding ground for bacteria and fungi can lead to bad breath as well as being responsible for diseases of the oral mucosa. In Ayurveda, the traditional Indian art of healing, already known for a long time, tongue scrapers are also becoming increasingly popular in Europe. Let us try something new more often!
4. Don't smoke
It is well known that smoking damages your teeth. But smoking also affects your oral hygiene in other ways. For example, it can cause bad breath, which is much more common in smokers than in people who do not smoke, and it can make the perception of smell and taste when eating worse. It is not only the smell of smoke alone that is responsible for the unpleasant breath. Nicotine addiction also favours other factors, such as dry mouth.
5. Attention with medicines
As just mentioned, a dry mouth is often the basis for bad breath. Waking up in the morning with a dry mouth and bad breath is perfectly normal and happens to more or less everyone. This is because salivation normally decreases at night. But what if this happens during the day? A common cause of this can be prescribed medication.
To counteract such dry mouth, often drink water, but avoid drinks containing sugar, acid and caffeine. You can also chew (sugar-free!) gum to stimulate your salivation. In the long term, you should also talk to your doctor about whether there is an alternative medicine that does not dry out your mouth as much.
Have you ever heard of oilpulling? This is not only an effective detox method, but also helps against bad breath! Toxins and odorous substances are bound by the oil and the growth of bacteria is slowed down in the long term. The best way to help is to move one or two tablespoons of cold-pressed oil in your mouth back and forth for five to ten minutes before brushing your teeth. Make sure you also pull it through the spaces between your teeth. Then spit out the oil and rinse your mouth several times with warm water. Would you like to try it? Then we have more detailed information for you in our article about oil pulling!
If you suffer from bad breath in the long term and your everyday life is massively influenced by this problem, it makes sense to seek professional advice. Consult a doctor, especially if the problem occurs unexpectedly and is accompanied by other symptoms such as headaches, aching limbs, coughing and breathing difficulties. The doctor can, for example, determine the cause of your halitosis, i.e. your bad breath, by analysing the gas in the air you breathe.