Burke & Redford Orthodontists has been shaping beautiful smiles in Temecula and Lake Elsinore since 1991. However, we know that a smile is more than just straight teeth. After all, an attractive smile accompanied by bad breath can be a big turnoff.
In this article, we will look at the causes of bad breath and how our patients can freshen their breath. Spoiler alert—one of the key components is practicing good oral hygiene! We will also explain why addressing orthodontic issues may help alleviate bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath—also known as halitosis—is a common problem that has multiple causes. Possible causes of bad breath include:
- Dry mouth
- Eating certain foods (such as garlic, onion, or spices)
- Using tobacco products
- Poor oral hygiene
- Untreated gum disease
- Infections in the mouth
- Various medical issues (g., post-nasal drip, acid reflux, metabolic diseases, cancer).
One of the reasons it is important to address orthodontic issues—such as overcrowded or crooked teeth—is because straight teeth with adequate spacing are easier to brush and floss properly. After orthodontic treatment, our patients can brush and floss more effectively, thereby creating a healthy mouth environment and combatting one of the primary causes of halitosis.
Bad Breath Remedy
In many cases, bad breath can be resolved by implementing the suggestions below. However, if these solutions do not work, consult with a dentist or medical professional as the cause of the bad breath may be the result of an underlying medical issue.
Brush After Eating. The best way to remove food particles—which can lead to odor-causing bacteria—is to brush after every meal. Best practices include brushing for two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste. If bacteria build-up is the primary cause of a patient’s bad breath, a prescription for an anti-bacterial toothpaste or mouthwash may be required. Many patients find it easier to implement proper brushing techniques by using an electric toothbrush with a timer. Proper brushing is especially important for patients with braces since food particles can become trapped in and around brackets.
- Floss Once A Day – Or More. Flossing removes odor-causing bacteria and plaque from in between teeth. Many patients find water flossers easier to use than dental floss and these devices can be a helpful adjunctive to traditional flossing. Patients with braces or other orthodontic appliances may also use special flossing tools, such as a Proxabrush®. Patients with questions about flossing techniques—especially those wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances—can ask for a tutorial from our friendly staff.
- Brush the Tongue. The tongue can be coated in the same bacteria that causes bad breath. Brushing the tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper as part of a patient’s daily toothbrushing routine will help to combat bad breath.
- Clean Appliances Properly. Patients with any type of orthodontic or dental appliance—such as dentures, bridges, braces, Invisalign, or retainers—must properly clean the appliances as directed by a dentist or orthodontist. This helps to prevent bacteria build-up that can cause halitosis.
- Stay Hydrated. Dry mouth is a leading cause of bad breath. Drinking a minimum of 48 ounces of water every day helps to keep the mouth moist and washes away food debris and particles. Chewing sugarless gum can also help produce saliva. If chronic dry mouth is an issue, patients should consult with their doctor or dentist about medications that stimulate saliva production.
- Stop Using Tobacco. Smoking and the use of other tobacco products can cause bad breath. The tobacco itself often creates an unpleasant smell. In addition, tobacco use causes dry mouth—a common cause of halitosis.
- Alter Eating Habits. Although patients might not want to give up onions and garlic entirely, these foods are known to cause bad breath. Brushing immediately after eating will help mitigate the problem. Sugary foods have also been linked to bad breath. Eating healthy snacks—such as raw fruits, veggies, and probiotic yogurt—helps stimulate saliva production and freshens the breath. Bring on the apple and orange slices!
- Change Toothbrush Every Three Months. Over time, fungus and bacteria can accumulate on the bristles of a toothbrush. For this reason, most dentists recommend getting a new toothbrush or brush head every 3 months.
- Keep Up with Dental Cleanings. Visiting the dentist twice a year for a check-up and cleaning is ideal. This prevents plaque from building up and allows the dentist to evaluate the condition of the mouth. Because gum disease can also cause bad breath, regular check-ups will detect any problems—allowing for early intervention.
After working with Burke & Redford Orthodontists in Temecula and Lake Elsinore to achieve a beautiful smile after wearing braces, we know our patients do not want their smile to be accompanied by bad breath. By following the guidelines above, our patients will be able to fully enjoy their new smiles without worrying about halitosis. Check out our Google reviews for Temecula orthodontist and see what patients are saying about the best orthodontists in Temecula, Lake Elsinore, and Riverside County today.