What is that smell? It could be your bad breath. Now that you've been wearing a mask when you can't social distance, have you noticed a change in your breath? Most of us have cupped our hands to smell our breath before; wearing a mask is like having our hands cupped in front of our face and mouth all of the time, yuck. You are probably wondering why the mask is making your breath smell, but in reality, it might not be the mask, and your breath might have been bad for a while without you noticing.
There are several reasons that people experience bad breath, or mask-breath as we have recently dubbed it. To help address this issue, we decided to put together a list of potential causes.
Possible Reasons Your Breath Smells Bad
- Reduced Water Intake: Mask wearing can reduce water intake. Drinking water regularly allows one's mouth to rinse away bacteria that, if left behind, can multiply and cause bad breath.
- Mouth Breathing: Wearing our masks can sometimes change the way we breathe. Mouth breathing can increase any odor that is in your mouth. At night, saliva production is decreased, and many of us mouth breath and snore. Both snoring and mouth breathing can lead to a dryer mouth and dreaded morning breath. Mouth breathing in our masks coupled with the reduced water consumption that we just mentioned can lead to unpleasant breath. Since mouth breathing in a mask is often difficult to stop, try taking frequent water breaks and make sure to stay on top of your oral hygiene by brushing your teeth and tongue at least three times a day, flossing, and using a mouthwash..
- Correct Teeth Brushing: According to a study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, only 1 in 10 people brush correctly. Wow! Are you brushing your teeth correctly? "Food can get trapped in between your teeth and under your gums. If it's not carefully removed through proper brushing and flossing, bacteria will start to break it down leading to a foul odor," says San Francisco Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Edward L. Loev, DMD.
- Diet: We are and often smell like what we eat. Garlic, coffee, wine, fish, eggs, curry, and onions can lead to bad breath. We all know that these fragrant foods can lead to less than kiss worthy breath, but did you know that sugar can cause bad breath (halitosis) because of how it interacts with the bacteria in your mouth? Dr. Loev cringes at the mere mention of sweets like gummies and caramels as they are the worst dental offenders when it comes to bad breath and in terms of dental decay and loosening of old fillings and crowns. You don't have to stop eating treats all together but opt for plain chocolate (Dr. Loev has recently developed a minor addiction to peanut M&M's) or at least treats that aren't sticky or overly hard and make sure to brush after enjoying.
So you have gone through our list, and you are still struggling with bad breath. Bad breath can be a symptom of periodontal disease (gum disease) or even an underlying medical condition with few noticeable signs. If you struggle with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease, the acid can easily create bad breath. Bad breath can also be a sign of some cancers, diabetes, and even metabolic illnesses.
Your Dentist Has You Covered
If you're experiencing bad breath, consider making an appointment with your dentist today. They should be able to help determine the reason behind your bad breath and give you some solutions. The pandemic has caused many people to put off dental check-ups and professional cleanings. Even if you are doing a great job with your oral hygiene at home, professional dental cleanings and check-ups can really help you stay on top of your overall oral and systemic health.
San Francisco Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Edward L. Loev, DMD, has been caring for his patients for decades from his dental office that overlooks San Francisco's Union Square. He and his team take pride in providing the best quality and most gentle dental care available in an environment that has been updated and implemented every possible safety measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and are in need or want of a new dentist, Dr. Loev and his whole office of professionals would love the opportunity to meet you and earn your trust and loyalty; call them at 415-392-2072 or schedule an appointment online today.