It’s Saturday morning. You roll over and look at your other half and decide to give them a good morning kiss.
What’s been brewing in your mouth overnight?
Here’s a question – if we floss and brush before we go to bed and settle down to sleep with a fresh mouth every night, why is it that just mere hours later, we wake up with dreaded “morning breath”?
The simple answer is that during the day, saliva works as your body’s own natural mouthwash, washing away bacteria and particles that cause bad breath. While we sleep, saliva production decreases and our mouths dry out, providing the perfect environment for odour-causing bacteria.
Bad breath (or “halitosis”, as it’s officially known) can come from a number of different sources. It can reflect medical conditions, such as chronic infections in the lungs to kidney and liver failure. Dieting and fasting can slow down the stimulation of saliva flow and result in ‘offensive’ breath. Talking for long periods of time will dry out your mouth with the same result.
In addition to bad breath, a dry mouth can also put you at risk for cavities and gum disease. When saliva is not present in the mouth to continuously flush foods away, food particles may adhere to teeth and begin the decay process.
Preventing bad breath.
Most everyday bad breath, however, can be controlled by following some simple steps:
1. Floss – flossing removes food particles from between the teeth eliminating an element of ‘bad breath’. If food particles are not removed, they can rot, leaving an unpleasant odour in your mouth.
2. Brush your teeth after every meal – brushing will clean the surface of your teeth and gums eliminating bad breath causing bacteria and prolonging the life of your teeth. It was good advice when you were a kid and it’s still good advice today.
3. Brush your tongue – more than half of the bacteria that cause bad breath can be found on your tongue so remember to brush your tongue when you brush your teeth.
4. Keep your mouth moist – avoid sugary beverages, but be sure to drink a lot of water. Aside from being good for hydration, the water acts to flush your mouth of the bacteria that cause bad breath
5. Visit your dentist regularly – aside from keeping your teeth in top shape, your dentist can look for signs of periodontal disease and other treatable causes of halitosis.
Persistent bad breath can be a sign of gum disease. If you notice that you have red, swollen or tender gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or gaps in-between your gums and your teeth, you may be experiencing the first signs of gum disease. Talk to us about steps you can take to halt or even reverse the indications of this preventable disease.
If your concerns go beyond morning breath, please ask us for more information. We’d be happy to give you some “fresh” oral hygiene tips.