Bad breath could be more than just an inconvenience - see your dentist
Do you suffer from bad breath? Are you constantly refreshing your mouth with mouthwash and mints to mask an odour problem? If any of this sounds familiar, the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) encourages you to see your dentist and get to the root of the problem.
"Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, can be caused by a number of factors, like smoking and certain foods, which can be easily treated," says Dr. Ira Kirshen, ODA President. "But bad breath can also be an indicator of gum disease or other medical conditions, such as diabetes. Your dentist can help determine the cause of bad breath and suggest a remedy or solution."
In the meantime, the ODA offers tips on how to be kissable this Valentine's Day:
- Floss and brush your teeth, gums and tongue daily to remove food particles and plaque. Bad breath is mostly caused by bacteria that form on leftover food debris in our mouths. - Saliva inhibits the growth of bacteria that contribute to bad breath, so drink plenty of water or chew on sugar-free gum to keep your mouth moist. Some antibiotics and alcohol can also lead to dry mouth, so have extra sugar-free gum or mints on hand. - Certain foods can contribute to bad breath, such as garlic, onions and protein-rich foods like milk products, fish and meat. Brush your teeth after consuming these foods. Chewing sugar-free gum is a good option if you cannot brush your teeth after every meal. - Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco can cause dry mouth or halitosis (on top of being harmful to your overall health). Speak to your dentist about quitting. - Visit your dentist regularly to attain and maintain good oral health.
"You can use mouthwash, mints or gum in the short term, but you are only masking the problem. Not treating signs of halitosis can lead to possible long-term effects," says Dr. Kirshen. "Don't ignore bad breath - it could affect your overall health, not to mention your social life!"
ONTARIO DENTAL ASSOCIATION