Over the past decade, a multitude of studies have pointed to the fact that, of the five senses, the sense of smell is able to generate the strongest emotional responses. This is why we immediately think warm, fuzzy thoughts of our childhood when the scent of homemade apple pie is wafting through the air. This is why movie theaters always smell like buttered popcorn. This is why we light candles that smell like clean linen in our homes. We associate these scents with certain people, places, and things that generate a certain set of emotions.
With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, it is appropriate to focus on the romantic. We shower, put on deodorant, and wear cologne and perfume in hopes of inspiring (or at least not discouraging) romantic thoughts in another by our scent. But the sense of smell can work against us also. There are few things more detrimental to a romantic evening with your loved one than bad breath. Bad breath, or halitosis, is universally undesirable and although it can have many causes, the good news is that simple remedies are sufficient in many cases.
Tips for Preventing Bad Breath
Brush Your Tongue – The back half of the top of your tongue is often the source of bad breath and simply brushing it when you brush your teeth can solve this problem.
Clean Dentures and Retainers Regularly – Many removable dental appliances can harbour smelly bacteria and food debris.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups – Dental decay and infection are common causes of bad breath. Regular dental visits help to detect decay early to prevent infection and help you keep your healthy smile.
Schedule Regular Medical Check Ups – Some medical disorders can be the root cause of bad breath including a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, and some liver or kidney ailments.
Eliminate Dry Mouth – Your saliva (or spit as the kids call it) normally washes away smelly food debris and bacteria from your teeth and gums. Many medications, old age, and some diseases can result in dry mouth that can lead to bad breath. Let your dentist know if you have noticed your mouth being dry and if you have had any recent surgeries or have started new medications.
Avoid Certain Foods – Food that collects between teeth and around the gums can leave an unpleasant odor. Foods like onions and garlic produce odor-causing compounds which enter the bloodstream and are exhaled through the lungs. These particular odors have nothing to do with teeth. Until the body eliminates the offending compounds the best one can do is mask the odor with mouthwashes or sprays.
Quit Smoking – We all know the dangers of smoking but let’s add one more negative to the list. All types of tobacco products stain teeth, irritate gum tissues, and produce bad breath. Many dental professionals have experience in smoking cessation techniques and could be a great resource for a patient looking to quit smoking.
Use an Antimicrobial Mouth Wash – Most breath fresheners and mouth rinses have limited effectiveness and serve to temporarily mask the underlying causes of bad breath. Using an antimicrobial mouth wash helps to eliminate odor causing bacteria.
Whatever the cause of bad breath, there is help available. Don’t let bad breath keep you down. Consult your dentist today and make that dragon breath kissable again!