Having bad breath can come with all sorts of embarrassment. Fortunately, there are ways of getting rid of it. As with most problems, it helps to find out exactly where it’s coming from…
The Underlying Cause of It All: VSC’s
The mass majority of bad breath is caused by gases known as “volatile sulfur compounds” (or VSC’s for short). These are the by-product of harmful bacteria that live in your mouth, and predominantly (80% of them) on your tongue. These bacteria thrive when your mouth is dry. Simply because they hate oxygen, and your saliva is full of naturally occurring oxygen. So the drier your mouth, the more bacteria grows, and the more they release stinky VSC’s into every exhale you make.
So while we know that ultimately, most bad breath is caused by VSC’s, there are few factors that contribute to a mouth that is regularly dry. Let’s take a look at a handful of the most common ones.
When you wake up, you probably notice that your mouth feels pretty dry. This is because saliva production slows down during shut-eye (mostly because you’re usually not eating anything while you sleep). This causes the mouth to become more conducive for bacteria growth, and as you might guess, your mouth becomes filled with more VSC’s. One way to combat this is to stay hydrated before bed. But of course, not to the point where you find yourself getting up throughout the night to use the bathroom. You can also swish with a VSC-neutralizing mouthwash before going to bed. This has shown to help reduce morning breath. And when you arise, simply scrape your tongue and drink some water.
Poor Oral Hygiene Causes Bad Breath
Most people take pretty good care of their teeth. Others…not so much. Remember, brushing twice a day is standard. Flossing is extremely effective at clearing out the tiny food particles that get stuck in between your teeth. Bacteria eat through leftover food and guess what – produce more VSC’s. If you’re not a fan of regular flossing, consider “water flossing.” Many people have turned to this innovative method of cleaning out their teeth. You can find affordable, highly rated water flossers on Amazon.com.
Stinky Food = Stinky Mouth
This is kind of a given, but foods like garlic, onions, and certain fish can give off a strong smell long after the meal is finished. To combat this, we suggest using an effective (non-alcohol) mouthwash, or a breath spray. At the very least, rigorously rinse your mouth with water after your meal to help clear out whatever is left behind.
Smoking is Only One of Many Reasons for Bad Breath
Cigarettes contain chemicals such as tar and nicotine that can stick to the teeth and gums. These chemicals not only stain the teeth, but they make the mouth more conducive for bacteria to breed. Toxins + bacteria = bad breath. While still not a perfect alternative, many people have switched to e-cigarettes and vaping in order to ween off of harmful tar-filled cigarettes.
Mouthwashes that Tell You to “Feel the Burn”
Believe it or not, your mouthwash might be making matters worse. If it’s got alcohol, it is drying out your mouth over time. And as we all know, those VSC-producing bacteria love a nice, dry mouth to fester in. Keep your saliva well-stocked, and the harmful mouthwashes out. (Instead, there are plenty of alcohol-free mouthwashes that do an amazing job, like ours!)
Anxiety Doesn’t Help
It’s been found that chronic stress will actually reduce the production of saliva. As an evolutionary mechanism, when your body is in “fight or flight” mode (like stress), it doesn’t have much use for the “rest and digest” type functions (like digesting). When you’re on edge, this can naturally cause your mouth to become drier. So practice deep breathing regularly. Study mindfulness. Perhaps practice meditation and yoga for 15-30 minutes at home. Don’t overburden yourself with humongous life change. Just look for subtle ways to let go of what you can’t control, and to trust the natural processes of life. In with the good. Out with the bad (breath).
Dry mouth = harmful bacteria = VSC’s = bad breath.
It’s really that simple. Focus on reducing VSC’s by scraping away the bacteria on your tongue and keeping your mouth nice and lubricated. Of course, using a patented and clinically-proven (alcohol-free) mouthwash doesn’t hurt either. 😉
P.S. Do you know someone with chronic bad breath? Be a friend and pass on this link. It might just be a helpful turning point for them.