Suffer from bad breath? We all do at some point. In fact, the official statistic is that there are 80 million people who suffer from halitosis, which is the scientific name for bad breath. And unfortunately, it can be hard to tell whether or not you do!
Our noses and mouths are close together, and they work together quite closely. Because of that, your brain learns to ignore the smell of your breath, so you don’t really notice it. Your best bet is to use the spoon test.
Use the Spoon Test to Check Your Breath
The good news is, there’s a pretty easy test to check the smell of your breath. You only need one thing: a spoon.
Here’s how to do it:
- Lick the back of the spoon.
- Wait a few minutes so the saliva can dry.
- Sniff the spoon, and that’s what your breath smells like.
Did you have a rude awakening? Don’t worry, it happens to all of us! Plus, there are many ways to treat your bad breath at home.
Common Causes of Bad Breath
Ok, so you did the spoon check and found out you had bad breath. Well, let’s fix it! This list outlines the most common causes of bad breath:
- Poor Oral Hygiene: As you probably guessed, brushing and flossing is essential for keeping your mouth fresh. As bacteria builds up in your mouth, it eats away at your teeth and releases odor-causing gas. So brush twice a day and floss daily, and you are on your way to having great breath!
- Dry Mouth: Dry mouth occurs when you have too little saliva in your mouth. Saliva is crucial component to your oral health. It helps rinse away odor-causing bacteria and lingering food particles from your mouth.
- Gum Disease: Gum disease creates pockets in your gums along the base of each tooth. This creates a convenient pocket where plaque and bacteria can collect.
- Poorly Fitting Dentures and Other Appliances: Similarly to the pockets in your gums from gum disease, ill-fitting dentures can result in pockets for bacteria to collect. It’s also very important to thoroughly clean your dental appliance after each use.
- Skipping Your Dental Check-Ups: Tartar and plaque cause odor, and while you can do a great job removing plaque at home, tartar needs to be removed by a professional.
- Smoking: Smoking leaves a stale smell in your mouth, and the smoke contains more than 60 odor-causing chemicals, or aromatic hydrocarbons. Smoking also can cause dry mouth, one of the other causes of bad breath that we mentioned earlier.
- Other Health Problems: Persistent bad breath can be a symptom of another medical issue, like acid reflux, kidney problems, pneumonia, bronchitis, and postnasal drip.
Why is “Garlic Breath” so Resilient?
There are certain exceptions to these causes. If you eat strong-smelling foods like onions or garlic, your breath can smell like that food as long as your body is digesting it. While your stomach processes these pungent foods, it releases gases that can scent your breath.
Call Your Dentist if the Problem Persists
If you are still struggling to manage your bad breath, it’s a good idea to ask your dentist for advice on what you should do.