Of course we want our smile to look great, healthy and clean but looking good is certainly not the only important thing when it comes to our mouth. We want to also be sure we don’t have funky breath, also known as halitosis. Occasional bad breath can be quite normal but consistent bad breath is often the sign of something more significant underlying it. There are few things that are as embarrassing or a bigger turn off than bad breath. Fortunately, we can help!
How to know if you have funky breath?
· Sniff it yourself! Lick your wrist, let it dry and then sniff it. That will provide an indication. I wouldn’t recommend doing this in public, however, because you may draw unnecessary attention.
· Try tasting it! If you can taste it, it is probably caused by something you ate or by dry mouth or dehydration. If you have a stale, gross taste in your mouth that probably means your breath smells, too.
· Ask someone you trust! If you are worried you might have bad breath, you should ask a friend or loved one to give you an honest evaluation. You can also ask them to look into your mouth and see whether there is a white coating on the back of your tongue which is often indicative or bacteria that can cause bad breath. Don’t forget that your dentist can give you an honest evaluation – after all, we are people too!
What causes funky breath?
- Improper oral hygiene (the most common cause!)
- Certain foods
- Dry mouth
- Tooth decay
- Root canal infection
- Gum disease
- Certain diseases and illnesses
- The use of some medications
What can you do about funky breath?
It is important that the cause of bad breath be diagnosed in order to determine how to resolve the issue. In most cases, bad breath can be reversed and improved upon relatively easily. If the funky breath is caused by an oral health problem, we can offer treatment that works to eliminate the bad breath by treating the cause. For example, if tooth decay, an infection or gum disease are the source, we will recommend treatment that will get rid of most of the harmful bacteria and plaque in your mouth. Often times, a thorough cleaning will be a good first step.
Fortunately, for most patients, they can ensure they maintain fresh and healthy breath themselves by doing the following:
- Brush your teeth twice a day (for as long as it takes to get them clean but usually no less than two minutes)
- Brush your tongue
- Floss regularly (at least once a day!)
- Stay hydrated
- Rinse your mouth with water after meals
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugar-free candy
- Avoid or limit the intake of foods and beverages with strong odors (like garlic, onions, dairy, canned tuna, horseradish)
- Stop smoking
- Taking antacids if the bad breath is caused by GI problems like reflux or an ulcer
How do you politely tell someone they have FUNKY breath?
First, here are some recommendations for how NOT to tell someone they have bad breath:
· Over the intercom at work
· By posting to their Facebook status
· Tweeting it at them
· Saying it out loud in front of other people
Instead, you have to do it delicately and politely:
· Approach the person very carefully and in private
· Bring it up neutrally by saying something like “I noticed a minor issue that I’d like to talk about if you’re ok with it”
· You can send an anonymous note or e-card – although it may cause anxiety on their part not knowing who sent it, it’ll remove any fear you have that they will hold it against you
· Tell them what you do to fight bad breath and tell them about some of the tips above!
If you or someone you know has funky breath, the Los Alamitos dental office of Shanna Chirco DDS can help! Call us today at (562) 430-7310 for an appointment!