Bad breath is, without a doubt, one of the most embarrassing problems you can suffer from. Depending on its severity and how much it worries you, it can have a serious impact on your social life, leaving you lacking confidence and avoiding getting close to people.
In many cases, brushing twice a day makes sure your mouth is clean and hygienic, keeping those bacteria at bay and preventing unpleasant breath. If you're not brushing twice daily and want to get rid of bad breath, that's a sensible place to start. But for some people, the problem can be baffling and difficult to pinpoint. Here are some lesser-known causes of bad breath.
The rest of your mouth
When bacteria breed in your mouth, it's not just your teeth and gums that they cling to. They also cover your tongue and the roof of your mouth, which means these areas can be a significant source of unpleasant smells. All you need to do to remedy this is to include the tongue and roof of your mouth when you brush your teeth, cleaning them gently with your toothbrush. You could also try using a tongue scraper. You can also ask your dentist for recommendations for mouth washes and other tips for keeping your mouth clean and smelling great.
Saliva helps to combat the bacteria in your mouth, which is why you might find your breath is worse in the morning after a night of decreased saliva production. If you often experience a dry mouth during the day, it could well be linked to dehydration, so try upping your water intake.
If you suffer from this uncomfortable problem, you'll most certainly be aware of it already. But what you may not know is that, in addition to being unpleasant, stomach acid in your oesophagus can be a cause of bad breath. If you experience acid reflux often, you may have an underlying medical condition that needs attention from a doctor, who may also be able to prescribe medication to control it.
It's pretty intuitive that strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic can make your breath smell unpleasant, but there are some less obvious foods, too. Coffee and alcohol can make your mouth dry, increasing bacteria levels, so follow them up with a glass of water and some sugar-free gum. Eating fish can also cause a nasty smell that hangs around, so rinse your mouth out after you eat it.
If you've tried everything else and are still experiencing bad breath, it could be a side-effect of any medication you're taking. See a doctor or pharmacist for a medication review and they'll be able to advise you.