Bad Breath: Is It Driving Your Friends Away?

Sadly, we've all been there. The friend, the colleague, the waiter. They open their mouths to speak and, well, it's not pleasant.

Sometimes the smell coming out of their mouths is downright rude.

Why Is My Breath So Foul?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is usually caused by a buildup of mouth bacteria. All food passes through that same portal where the particles get broken down and distributed to the bloodstream. Good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing as well as regular visits to the dentist, can combat noxious breath.

We're not talking about garlic or onion fumes, which disappear once the food has left your system. This particular odor is akin to sulfur, or Limburger cheese: a smell no one wants to be around for long -- no matter how much they love you.

man in office gagging over bad breath fumes

To Breathe or Not to Breathe...That Is the Question

One oddity about something as powerful as bad breath is that people often don't even realize they have it. If you are wondering why colleagues seem to fade away from the water cooler every time you approach, the best way to determine if your breath is working against you is to ask a trusted friend.

If just the thought of that makes you cringe, do this instead: smell your floss when you're finished. If there's a pungent je ne sais quoi wafting from it, you may have an issue.

How to Combat Bad Breath

Aside from regular visits to your dentist, a few tips and tricks in the battle against halitosis are to drink plenty of water to flush leftover food from your mouth, go easy on alcohol and coffee, and chew sugarless gum to promote saliva flow (dry mouth = bad breath).

Sometimes, even the best hygiene is not enough to wrestle this one into submission. Cavities, gum disease, or food trapped around the tonsils can also contribute to bad breath. Other medical conditions like diabetes and liver disease can be factors, so if you have chronic bad breath you can't seem to shake, visit your doctor and get checked out.

At the very least, your friends will thank you.

 

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