Bad breath is the bane of many a hopeful man out on a date. But it’s also a hassle for everyday living, as it’s a sure-fire way to leave a less than desirable impression.
But is poor oral hygiene really the only reason for bad breath?
Generally, yes. According to professor of oral medicine Dr. SR Porter, halitosis (or bad breath, as we know it) is commonly caused by the food debris and plaque building up in the mouth. Naturally occurring bacteria can turn stinky when they break down the food trapped in your teeth, gums, and tongue. This means the less time you spend brushing and flossing, the more yucky every exhale is going to be.
Of course, bad oral care isn’t the only cause of bad breath. Medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and other such illnesses can also be the root of the problem. According to recent studies, another common culprit is Xerostomia (the medical term for dry mouth). When your mouth can’t produce enough saliva, a change in the type and/or amount of bacteria in your mouth may occur (remember boys, not all bacteria is bad!), and this, in turn, can lead to bad breath. In fact, one reason your mouth feels and smells so funky in the morning is because it goes dry during sleep.
Now, while there may be underlying causes to your dry mouth, one easy way to lessen the problem is to increase your fluid intake. Drinking plenty of water will not only help keep your mouth moist, it’ll also flush out the leftover food stuck in between your teeth and generally cleanse your piehole, reducing the bad bacteria in there. Not getting your daily eight glasses is one reason your breath is so unpleasant.
The kind of food you eat can also greatly affect the smell of your sighs. Obviously, you know that you should avoid garlic and onions when ordering on the first date. But things like meat, fish, and dairy, as well as drinks like coffee or alcohol, can exacerbate the problem, too. Even refined sugar can be your downfall as it feeds the bacteria that produces the foul odor.
(And in an ironic twist of fate, sugary breath mints—you know, those things you pop in your mouth when you want your breath to smell nice—can lead to halitosis as well. Better go for the sugarless version next time, gents.)
Fortunately, if your bad breath is just a matter of eating something stinky, it’s not a long-lasting problem. More often than not, a good scrub with a toothbrush and a few minutes of vigorous flossing can make temporary bad breath go away.
Ultimately, good dental hygiene is your best defense against everyday bad breath. There’s really no excuse not to practice such basic personal care. You should also do regular check-ups with your dentist in order to detect early signs of halitosis and other oral hygiene problems.