Living with bad breath can be incredibly difficult – whether you know you have it or not! Humans are very tactile, social creatures, meaning we are often close to other people. Whether this is in an intimate sense or on a more platonic level, the absolute last thing you want is to become known as someone with bad breath or to have people veer away from you because of it. Equally, this can make you incredibly paranoid. Sometimes, people who are conscious that they have bad breath end up over-compensating with obsessive behaviors such as brushing and chewing gum a lot. So, if you think you may have breath, is there anything you can do? Here are some of the most common questions people have about it and the solutions to this very common problem.
Is it caused by poor oral hygiene?
In an answer: yes. Well, usually, at least. Bad dental and oral care are the leading causes of bad breath across the world and normally happens when people don’t brush their teeth properly or frequently enough. When you aren’t brushing enough, bacteria can develop within the mouth, building up around your teeth, gums, tongue, and even on the roof of your mouth. As the bacteria sits there, it starts to produce some unpleasant smelling gasses, which are the cause of ‘halitosis.’ Eating certain foods such as garlic and onions, and drinking coffee and alcohol can also worsen this, as they are naturally strong-smelling foods. Make sure you go for regular dental check-ups to see if there are any underlying health issues that could be causing your bad breath – if not, it’s probably just down to your oral hygiene.
What can sufferers do about it?
As mentioned above, it is always worth visiting your doctor to ask questions about your halitosis, as this will rule out any underlying, more serious condition. Sometimes, bacterial stomach infections can cause bad breath as one of their symptoms, as can having an excessively dry mouth. So, even if you find it awkward speaking to your doctor about this, it can still be worth going just to rule either of these out. As well as upping your dental care regime, there are also other things you can do to improve the odor of your breath. If you are a smoker, for example, why not switch to vaping instead? There are plenty of e liquid options available on the market, all of which smell better than classic tobacco. Additionally, try to avoid crash dieting, and look into any medications you might be on – certain types, such as nitrates, are said to have links to bad breath.
Am I just being paranoid?
Potentially. Halitophobia is a real condition where people become fixated with the idea of having bad breath. Sufferers may engage in compulsive behavior such as brushing their teeth multiple times a day or using mouth fresheners frequently. As well as being potentially hazardous to your mouth, these kinds of behaviors can also damage your mental health. If you think you may have halitophobia, speak to a mental health professional, who may refer you for some cognitive behavioral therapy.