Knowing You Have Bad Breath is Half the Battle

Best Dentist in Portland Oregon

Let’s take a minute to conduct a little test that could help us close that big deal, make a new friend, or perhaps even meet that soon to be significant other. However, you may want to look around to make sure that no one is watching.

Lick the back of your hand, wait a minute, and then sniff your hand. Sulfur salts that cause bad breath will be transferred from you tongue to the back of your hand. While somewhat unusual, conducting our little test could help solve the mystery of why we’re always being offered a mint and why coworkers always call our desk rather than stop by.

When it comes to bad breath, clinically referred to as halitosis, knowing you suffer from the condition is half the battle.

Here’s are a few tips every patient should know about beating bad breath from Portland dentist Dr. Todd Beck.


The mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. Oral plaque is a sticky biofilm comprised of bacteria and lingering food particles that forms over the surface of our teeth. When not properly brushed away, plaque can lead to the development of gingivitis and increase our risk of periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.

Not only does plaque stick to the surface of our teeth, it also clings to our tongues. The longer plaque remains in the mouth, the more the food particles and bacteria found in the biofilm begin to decay, resulting in the release of foul smelling sulfur, which quickly spoils the smell of our breath.

Foods we eat are also absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the lungs, where the odors from the foods can affect the state of our breath. That’s why strong smelling foods like onion, garlic and liverwurst can result in some serious oral funk until they are completely processed out by our bodies.

Bad breath could be a symptom of a more serious health condition. Suffering from halitosis may indicate diabetes, pneumonia, acid reflux, oral yeast infection, sinus infection, or even kidney or liver disease. If you brush and floss regularly and avoid strong smelling foods but still suffer from chronic bad breath, you should schedule a checkup with Dr. Beck today.

Dry mouth can cause serious oral problems. In addition to wetting your whistle, saliva plays the important role or removing plaque and food particles from your mouth after eating.

When you suffer from dry mouth, the body produces too little saliva, which allows plaque and other bacteria to remain in the mouth. As we discussed earlier, the longer plaque remains in the mouth, the worse our breath will become. Not to mention the increased risk of developing gum disease. Not drinking enough water, salivary gland problems, certain types of prescription medications and breathing through your mouth can all cause dry mouth.

How to Fight Off Bad Breath:

  • Practice quality oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. The American Dental Association recommends spending at least two minutes brushing and spending at least one minute flossing. While these rank as the two most important habits for preventing bad breath, you also need to schedule regular checkups with Dr. Beck. Yearly checkups and cleanings help to remove plaque from hard to reach places in the mouth your toothbrush just cannot reach.
  • Prevent dry mouth by drinking water throughout the day. Not only will this help to remove food and bacteria from the mouth, it will also help your body produce more saliva. You can also suck on sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum to help promote saliva production.
  • Avoid eating foul smelling foods like garlic, onion and liverwurst that can exacerbate bad breath.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking cigarettes causes an increased build up of plaque in the mouth. Smoking also increases an individual’s risk of gum disease.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash as part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Mouthwash can remove foul smelling bacteria while also offering a temporary boost to the state of your breath.
  • Use antacids and other over-the-counter medications to reduce the affects of acid reflux.

In most instances, following these tips will help to put a halt to halitosis. However, if you follow these tips and still experience persistent bad breath, make sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beck by calling 503-841-5658 or by clicking here.