When meeting a new person, having offensive breath is one of the greatest first-impression deal-breakers in the history of first-impression deal-breakers. It doesn’t matter if you are a clean person who has good general dental care otherwise, if your breath wreaks, everyone you come in contact with will immediately put you in the “stinky breath” category.
It’s hard to come back from that.
The thing is, sometimes it’s hard to tell if your own breath stinks. One day, we’ll have an app that will alert us when we need to brush our teeth. Until science catches up with humanity to produce this much-needed piece of technology, here are a few indications that you might need to step up your fresh breath game:
- You might have bad breath if your general dental care practices stink.
Halitosis (the medical term for having stinky breath) comes from the teeming bacteria that grows in our mouths. The human mouth is the ideal temperature and environment for bacteria to fester and grow. As the bacteria builds a kingdom in your mouth, the smell that these stinkers produce becomes obvious. When you eat a breath mint, it only masks the smell. In fact, the sugar in the mints acts as a Las Vegas buffet for the bacteria, making them stronger and stinker in the long run.
When we have good general dental care habits, it keeps the bacteria populations down and thus, the bad breath down. Your general dental care habits should include brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every night. Brushing your teeth not only freshens your breath, it kills off the bacteria populations, so your breath stays fresh longer than if you pop a mint. However, some of the bacteria that generates the funk make its home in between your teeth and in your gums, where a tooth brush cannot reach. This is why flossing is such an important part of your general dental care habits. When you floss, it clears the germs out of those hard-to-reach places between your teeth, preventing them from taking dominion in your mouth and scaring off everyone you talk to with their odor.
- You might have bad breath if you aren’t drinking enough water.
Drinking water is especially important to preventing bad breath. When you drink water after you eat, it washes the acid and sugar out of your mouth, and prevents the odor causing bacteria from building a stronghold. Also, as your food digests, the acids from your stomach sometimes make it past your esophagus and into your mouth (you might be familiar with the term “heartburn”). Unsurprisingly, this smells. Drinking a glass of water dilutes these stomach acids and washes them back where they belong, in your stomach and away from the smelling machines of the people you’re talking to.
- You might have bad breath if you need a dentist appointment.
If you brush and floss but still have a stinking suspicion that your breath might not be winning in the freshness department, it might be time to pay a visit to your dentist. Especially if you’re long overdue for your bi-annual checkup and cleaning. There are a lot of health issues that could lead to halitosis. Having an infection in your mouth could lead to bad breath. As you neglect your dental visits, small dental issues could lead to dental and gum decay, which — you guessed it — smells bad.
When you go in for your six-month checkup, your dentist will take x-rays of your mouth. This uncovers any dental issues that are not visible that could damage your winning smile (and winning smell) in the long run. This saves you from the embarrassment of bad breath now, and in the future.
We’ll throw this in for free: The longer you go without visiting the dentist, the more time the rot has to destroy those pearly whites. Paying a visit to a cosmetic dentistry practice might be a good idea, for both the appearance and smell of your teeth.
Do you have any other tips for preventing bad breath? We want to hear them in the comment section below!