How to Know If You Have Bad Breath and What to Do About It

COVID-19 has led to a surprising discovery – bad breath. Many people have unfortunately smelled their bad breath because they are wearing face masks. What makes this even more shocking is that people typically can’t smell their own breath, so if it is strong enough for you to smell, it means you have a rather bad case of halitosis.

Yes, it is embarrassing, but you are not the only one. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, “Up to 80 million people have chronic bad breath” – or 1 in 4 people globally. However, just because 25% of people suffer from bad breath doesn’t mean you should just accept it. Your bad breath could easily be freshened up. On the flip side, bad breath may be the sign of an underlying medical condition, and you should seek help from your Houston dental practice.

Have no fear! By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have a much better idea of how to know if you have bad breath and what you can do about it.

How to Find Out If You Have Bad Breath

If you want to find out if you have bad breath, ask a kid. Kids are notorious for being honest and blunt – especially when it involves bad breath. If you don’t have kids, then ask someone you trust like a friend or family member. If you have a feeling that bad breath is a constant problem, then you should ask your Houston dentist.

And there will be times when it just feels too personal to ask someone else. In this case, you can do your own sniff test. Colgate recommends, “An easy way to do this is to lick your wrist, let it dry for a moment, then take a whiff. You can also floss between two teeth toward the back of your mouth and smell the floss, or use a tongue-scraper to gently scrape the tongue, then smell the scraper.”

Another sign you have stinky breath is having a white coating on your tongue. Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, explains in Everyday Health, “That white coating is comprised of sulfur compounds that have risen to the tongue’s surface and cause bad breath.”

If You Do This, Then You Likely Have Bad Breath

In addition to being directly told you have bad breath, smelling it yourself, or seeing the evidence, you can also bet you have bad breath is you do the following:

  • You smoke or use tobacco. The truth is not only does using tobacco products leave your mouth smelling like an ashtray, but tobacco also causes other harmful oral conditions.
  • You are a mouth breather. If you tend to sleep with your mouth open or breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, you are what is affectionately known as a mouth breather. Mouth breathing leads to dry mouth, and dry mouth leads to bad breath.
  • You suffer from gastric reflux. According to Listerine, “If you frequently experience acid reflux, the odors from recently consumed foods may easily make their way back up the esophagus and out the mouth, causing bad breath.”
  • You eat odor-causing foods. Some of our favorite foods cause us to have smelly breath, such as coffee, garlic, onions, and fish. CNN reports, “The allyl methyl sulfide in coffee, onions and garlic can stay in your bloodstream and be expelled via your breath up to 72 hours after consumption.”
  • You drink alcohol. While drinks seem to moisten the mouth, alcoholic beverages dry the mouth out. Again, dry mouth equals bad breath.
  • You take certain prescription medications. Many prescription medications have dry mouth as a side effect.
  • You have poor oral hygiene. Most of the time, bad breath is because the person is not taking good care of his or her mouth and teeth. If you aren’t brushing and flossing daily, then you can’t expect to have fresh breath.

Other Causes of Bad Breath

Unfortunately, sometimes bad breath can be a sign of a larger issue. For example, bad breath may be a warning sign for gum disease or other dental conditions, such as cavities and infections. WebMD explains, “Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.”

This is why it is important not to allow your embarrassment over bad breath prevent you from seeking help for bad breath. Your Houston dentist can evaluate the air coming from your mouth and nose to determine the possible cause of your halitosis.

How to Prevent Bad Breath

We will all have bad breath at some point, but there are some things you can do to prevent you from being known for your bad breath. First, you must maintain good oral care. This means you should brush your teeth more than one a day and floss daily. Also, you should maintain your regular dental checkups and cleanings. Next, you should kick your bad habits, such as drinking alcohol excessively or smoking. Then, you should embrace a new habit of drinking more water. This will prevent dry mouth and keep you healthier overall.

If you know you have bad breath, there are some things you can do. For example, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash daily and be sure to scrape or brush your tongue. Sadly, you may also want to avoid some foods that are known to cause bad breath – no matter how delicious.

Schedule an Appointment with a Houston Dentist Today

You don’t have to live in fear of bad breath ruining a conversation any longer. Schedule an appointment with Houston’s favorite, Greenspoint Dental. Dr. Bosse and the Greenspoint Dental team will help get the cause of your bad breath problem, whether it is minor or major. And they will provide you with the treatment and care you need to have fresher breath. If they believe a more serious medical condition is causing your chronic bad breath, they can refer you to a physician.