It is often difficult to find out when you have bad breath, but the signs will be there. Small facial expressions when you are talking to others, the offer of a mint, or perhaps a couple of kind words from a friend can all be signals that your breath is bad. It can be horribly embarrassing to suffer from bad breath, and affect your self esteem all the more when you don’t know its cause.
Usually, bad breath is caused by what you eat, a lack of saliva in your mouth, stress, dehydration, and stomach activity. Sometimes tooth decay can also cause bad breath. Most of these are more easily solvable than another common cause, acid reflux.
Acid reflux is one of the major causes of bad breath. This is because of the digestive liquids rising into the throat, bringing with them nasty-smelling gasses. If you suffer from acid reflux, you probably know it. Symptoms include heartburn, trouble swallowing and, of course, reflux, when some of your stomach contents travel back up the esophagus. This is caused by a fault in the barrier between your esophagus and your stomach.
If you suffer from acid reflux, there’s a high likelihood that you have bad breath, whether you know it or not. Changes to your diet will help with both the breath issue and with your condition.
Avoiding alcohol is a good start. When you do drink, make sure to drink a glass of water between each beverage to balance out the dehydrating effects of the alcohol. If you are drinking in the evening, drink one or two glasses of water before you go to bed as well.
Foods to avoid include coffee, garlic, onions, spicy foods, sugar, blue cheese, oily fish and large doses of vitamin C. Fats stay in your stomach for longer periods, so avoid fatty foods. Smoking reduces the function of the sphincter that blocks the entrance to your stomach. Research has found that antacids based on calcium carbonate do more harm than good, as they increase the acidity of your stomach. Fad diets, which put your digestive system under a lot of stress, will also contribute to bad breath.
Stress is also a major contributing factor to acid reflux. It also affects your digestion. Examine the stressful factors in your life and see how you can eliminate them. Sometimes all it takes is sitting down and writing out a list for your stress factors to come down. Sometimes, as we all know, it’s not that simple, but see if you can pencil relaxing activities or even a peaceful bath into your schedule.
Food intolerance can aggravate acid reflux. Unfortunately, the only way to identify a food intolerance is to cut it out of your diet and see if you feel better. Try eliminating food types one at a time to see if it makes any difference to your health. Keep each group out of your diet for at least two weeks each time.
While you search for a long-term solution to your problem, it may help to carry a packet of gum and a bottle of water with you at all times. This will help you keep your mouth hydrated and give you confidence that if you do have a bout of bad breath, you can fight it.