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Are you feeling self-conscious about your breath, and if so, what can you do? If the cause is something simple, like eating garlic and onions, or drinking your regular morning joe, there are things you can do. Meticulously brushing, flossing, cleaning your tongue and using an antiseptic mouthwash, all go a long way to clearing your breath. Even chewing sugarless gum can help. So let’s look at what can wreak havoc with your breath.

If you are a tobacco user, you may be familiar with your non-smoking friends and family commenting that your breath smells like tobacco long after you have had your last puff. That’s because it’s not just the tobacco smell itself that lingers. Tobacco smoking can cause diminished saliva production, or dry mouth. Dry mouth can leave your breath smelling less than wonderful because saliva helps to wash away food particles and bacteria that like to hide in between your teeth and gums and especially on your tongue.

Dry mouth is a medical condition which can be caused by various factors, not just tobacco. There are quite a few medications that list dry mouth among their common side effects. This includes medications for pain, allergies, anxiety, depression, cold and flu, nausea, asthma, and epilepsy, just to name a few. These medications can be over the counter or prescription.

Another cause of bad breath can be untreated medical conditions. Some cancers or metabolic disorders disrupt the chemical balance in your mouth resulting in less than optimal breath.

If your breath is causing you dismay, take heart. Use your ninja oral hygiene tools sitting in your medicine cabinet: an ADA approved toothbrush, toothpaste, dental flosser of choice, mouthwash rinse, and tongue scraper (or your toothbrush). Match that with a healthy diet, avoid acid-causing foods and drinks, chew sugarless gum to help stimulate saliva and finally, stay well-hydrated.

See your dentist for your regular teeth cleanings to remove hardened plaque (tartar) and to rule out gum disease or tooth decay. And see your doctor if you suspect there is more to your persistent bad breath than your oral regimen can address.

As always, please call our office if you have any questions about your healthy smile! 361.592.4373.