Bad breath is one of those socially awkward conditions where you may not know you’re offending someone. But it’s rather easy to find out the truth, and usually easy to solve the problem.

Observe body language. If someone doesn’t approach you closely during conversation, or steps back when you step forward, that’s a hint. Of course, that person might just need more personal space than you, so watch the person’s face for the next hint. Even if they maintain a pleasant smile, the muscles around the nose will contract involuntarily in response to offensive odors. Look at yourself in the mirror to see what this response looks like, and learn to recognize it in others.

A more precise way to determine if you have halitosis is this simple three-step process:

  1. Lick the inside of your wrist.
  2. Wait a few moments until the saliva dries.
  3. Smell your wrist. That’s what your breath smells like.

Are the results bad? There are a number of culprits that could be causing your bad breath. Do an honest inventory of your oral hygiene:

Adopt Good Dental Hygiene Habits

It’s never too late to get into the healthy habit of brushing and flossing twice a day at minimum, as well as after eating sugary foods and foods that can cause bad breath. Add two more items to your daily routine: use an antiseptic mouthwash to get rid of lingering bacteria; and scrape your tongue after brushing to remove dead cells that brushing doesn’t reach. A twice-a-year visit to the dentist is essential to remove plaque that builds up on your teeth and keep your older teeth healthy and strong.

Smoking and Bad Breath

Particles from tobacco smoke stay in your lungs and throat for hours and the chemicals in the tobacco sour your breath, which is especially noticeable to non-smokers. Short of quitting, you can pop a mint or a piece of sugarless gum in your mouth afterwards, which stimulates your saliva glands and provides a barrier against the plaque acids that contribute to bad breath.

Natural Breath Cleaners

If brushing during the day isn’t convenient, nibble some fennel, mint leaves or cilantro. These are natural bacteria killers and they freshen your mouth with pleasant aromas.

Foods to Avoid

It’s common knowledge that garlic and onions contain chemical compounds that are absorbed into your bloodstream and have an unpleasant odor when you exhale. Coffee and alcohol dehydrate your mouth, and this too can contribute to the growth of halitosis-causing bacteria.

A little knowledge goes a long way to staying confident about your breath. If you have concerns about your breath or other dental issues that these simple measures don’t resolve, contact Lane Avenue Family Dentistry in Jacksonville: 904-783-1422.