This year, we are celebrating National Fresh Breath Day (that’s right, it’s a real day) by brushing, rinsing, flossing, and swishing away the odor caused by bacteria in our mouths! You might be scratching your head, wondering why this is an actual holiday.
But think about it, has there ever been a time someone offered you a stick of gum without you asking for one? Have you ever been around someone who has chronic bad breath, and you don’t know how to tell them? Chances are you’ve had an experience with halitosis, and it can be uncomfortable. It’s an awkward conversation to begin for starters, but it’s even harder to self-evaluate, what if you’re the one with bad breath?
The “breathe into your hand trick and then sniff” is classic, but leaves a lot to chance. So, if you think you have bad breath, be polite and ask a (close) friend or family member to tell you the truth, not just for their sake but for your own! Sure, you don’t necessarily have to smell your own breath all day, but bad breath could be the sign of an underlying medical or dental issue, and you don’t want an already stinky situation getting worse.
Poor dental hygiene, infections, dry mouth, tobacco use, or even some medications can negatively impact your oral odor. Making sure you have good dental habits and are well hydrated is the first step in refreshing your mouth. The second is making sure your toothbrush has been replaced (generally every 3-4 months) and perhaps adding a mouthwash to your dental routine. Lastly, utilizing the almost $20 billion gum and the mint industry as your backup (sugar-free, of course) can’t hurt if you’re in a pinch and can’t brush your teeth after a meal. If you still are experiencing issues after that, it’s time to see your dentist, who may even refer you to a doctor.
Your mouth shouldn’t cause you anxiety, especially when you’re around the ones who are closest to you. So keep it fresh, and when in doubt, just ask, “Do I have bad breath?”