Category Archives: General dentistry

Can anything help my husband’s bad breath?

My husband has bad breath. I don’t know what it is, but I’m embarrassed for him. It wasn’t so bad when we were first married, but it has kind of gotten worse. He doesn’t have terrible oral hygiene so I don’t know what changed. I’m wondering what the best kind of mints or gum are for him, or if there is anything he can do so he has fresh breath when he’s at work or around other people in closer proximity.

Thanks,
Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,

It’s hard to tell someone you care about that they have bad breath, but it can be even more difficult to cure because there are so many different causes.  Let’s start with bacteria. Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. There are over 700 different bacteria species that have been found in the mouth.  They are working to break down the food that enters and are necessary for digestion and the natural, healthy functions of the mouth. When the bacteria break down protein, in particular, it creates a sulfur gas, which doesn’t smell good and can linger in the mouth.

Sometimes it is the food itself that can cause bad breath, or halitosis. Garlic, onion, tuna, and some dairy are often culprits for a bad smell left behind after being eaten.

Even sickness can lead to bad breath. If you have a cold or the flu, the drainage can emit an odor. If this were the cause of your husband’s bad breath, when the virus was gone, the bad breath should be, too.  Some longer-lasting illnesses, such as acid reflux, may contribute to longer-lasting halitosis. Fortunately, there are medications for these kinds of health issues that may help alleviate the symptoms and, in turn, the bad breath.

How can you help the halitosis?

The list goes on, but there are things that may help with the halitosis. The first line of defense is good oral hygiene. This includes brushing after each meal, refraining from snacking too much between meals without cleaning,  flossing daily, and regularly visiting the dentist. Using a mouthwash designed specifically for bad breath may help. Carefully cleaning the tongue and roof of the mouth are also suggested. These will help ward off halitosis from gum disease.

As for breath mints or gum for your husband’s breath, use caution. Many breath mints have sugar and bacteria feeds on sugar. What you use to help the bad breath may actually make it worse. Make sure you only choose sugar-free  gum or mints.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.