What’s that smell?
I’d like to start this blog with a little exercise. Begin by holding your hand (palm facing you) approximately 1 inch in front of your mouth. Now blow a full breath into your hand. While keeping your hand in place, take a whiff of the air in front of your hand. What do you smell? Hopefully nothing, or better yet, something pleasant. For those of you less than happy with what you’re smelling right now, this post may prove to be particularly prudent. I say that half-jokingly because we all know that anyone at any time can have bad breath. Heck, I’m quite diligent with my oral care routine and I still have bad breath from time to time. That being said, I believe we can all benefit from the advice in this blog.

Bad Breath Causes
Before I get to the preventative tips, it’s important to understand where bad breath comes from. Bad breath, or Halitosis as it’s formally known, stems from a variety of common sources. The following are common sources of bad breath:

Certain food such as garlic, onions, fish, meat, cheese, etc.
Poor general oral hygiene
Nasal and sinus infections
Throat infections
Faulty dental restorations
Periodontal disease
Xerostomia(dry mouth)
Other underlying health conditions

Tips for Preventing Bad Breath

Knowing the causes of bad breath can help us to understand the measures we need to take to prevent it. In no particular order, here is a list of preventative measures you can take starting today to reduce the likelihood that you will have bad breath:

1) Brush & Rinse(with water) After Each Meal – Some of you may think I’m crazy for suggesting this. Sure, you may have to get creative if you don’t want to be seen brushing your teeth at work, but this is one of the best ways to ensure that food particles do not get stuck in the pockets surrounding your teeth.

2) Floss at Least Once Per Day – Flossing is equally important as brushing in my opinion. Just like recommendation number one above, flossing is intended to remove food particles from between the teeth. This will, in turn, create an unfavorable environment for bacteria growth. That’s exactly what we’re after.

3) Brush Your Tongue – The tongue carries approximately 50% of the total bacteria in your mouth. Where there’s bacteria, there’s odor. Whack this bacteria by brushing your tongue with toothpaste for at least 10 strokes. The middle 1/3 of your tongue is most prone to bacteria growth so pay special attention to that area.

4) Chew Sugarless Gum – Chewing sugarless gum can increase the flow of saliva and reduce the chances you’ll experience dry mouth-related bad breath. If gum isn’t your thing you can also try sugarless throat lozenges to create the same effect.

5) Drink Plenty of Water – This recommendation follows the same lines as the above suggestion. Drinking plenty of water reduces the occurrence of dry mouth by stimulating saliva production. Stick to water as alcohol and caffeinated drinks can lead to Xerostomia.

6) Swap out Your Toothbrush Every 3-4 Months An old toothbrush is a bacteria-riddled toothbrush. Gross, right? Bad breath or not this is a good tip to remember.

7) Quit Smoking – This is easier said than done, I’m sure. However, smoking caused nicotine and tar(among other nasty chemicals) to build up on the cheek walls, tongue, and teeth surfaces. It comes as no surprise that bad breath is nearly inevitable if you smoke. However, following the above tips can minimize your risk for developing bad breath.

Give us your tips
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it covers my top tips for preventing bad breath. Please share any others that you’ve had success with.

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