Could You Have Bad Breath and Not Know It?

halitosisAccording to Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, an associate professor at the NYU School of Dentistry, more than half of us suffer from bad breath, medically known as chronic halitosis. The odor is usually caused by bacteria in the mouth, the decay of food particles, and poor dental hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor.

There are easy to identify causes of bad breath that everyone should be aware of, such as sleeping with your mouth open, smoking or chewing tobacco, gastric reflux, eating suspect foods, and taking certain medications. Although there are signs you can watch for, such as a white-coated tongue, or a dry mouth, you can also test your mouth for bad breath odors.

“Take a minute and try this easy Bad Breath Self Awareness Test,” suggests Levine. “Wipe the surface of your mouth with a piece of cotton gauze and smell that. If you notice a yellowish stain on the cotton, that’s a likely sign that you have an elevated sulfide production level. Now, lick the back of your hand. Let it dry for about 10 seconds, then smell. If you notice an odor, you have a breath disorder because the sulfur salts from your tongue have been transferred to your hand.”

Most bad breath issues can be resolved with good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing teeth twice daily will eliminate many of the odor-causing food particles. In addition to brushing your teeth, you should also brush the tongue, cheeks, and roof of the mouth to remove bacteria and food particles. Regular dentist cleanings will help remove plaque and trapped food particles that can accumulate in the gumline. If you think that you suffer from bad breath, your dentist can also help determine its source.

Read more about the signs of bad breath by clicking HERE.