Bad Breath Killing the Mood?
Almost nothing is a bigger mood killer than bad breath, and almost nothing is more frustrating than when it consistently comes back, no matter how much gum, mints or mouthwash you use.
The technical term for bad breath is halitosis. When you have halitosis, things like mints and breath spray often only work temporarily because they don't fix the cause, which can be one of many things, including several health conditions, habits and certain foods.
Fortunately, halitosis can be greatly improved or even eliminated altogether with the implementation of a consistent, good oral hygiene routine. However, if the bad breath persists, you should get checked out by a dentist to ensure it isn't being caused by any serious underlying conditions.
Be up-front about it
We've all tried to check our own breath using the age-old trick of blowing into a cupped hand and taking a whiff. Unfortunately, it can be pretty difficult to objectively assess your own breath. While you may have a suspicion you have bad breath due to an unpleasant taste in your mouth, it may be hard to actually confirm it. Medical experts are unsure of exactly why humans are unable to fully smell their own breath, but one theory is it is a result of the body's sensory nervous system's ability to adapt to the stimuli around it.
This, unfortunately, means you may not know your breath stinks unless your partner tells you—or worse, because they don't tell you in an effort not to hurt your feelings and avoid kissing you altogether. The best thing to do if you're unsure how your breath smells is to ask your partner, and the reverse is true as well. If your partner has bad breath, let them know. Do so gently, of course, but know it's an important first step toward fixing the problem.
Identifying the cause
Once you know you have bad breath, the question of how to fix it remains. The answer relies, in large part, on what's causing your bad breath.
Certain foods can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor as the particles of the food are broken down—think onions, garlic, and so on. The compounds in these foods enter the bloodstream, making their way to your lungs, where they continue to affect your breath even hours later. So if you're planning to get intimate and want to keep your breath fresh, consider skipping these foods.
Additionally, having a dry mouth can lead to bad breath. This is because saliva is meant to help continually cleanse the mouth, removing food particles and odor-causing bacteria. Dry mouth can be caused by dehydration and certain medications. If this is the source of your bad breath, take care to drink plenty of fluids and think about talking to your doctor about your medication. They may be able to change your dose or switch you to a different medicine that doesn't affect your breath.
Another possibility is the use of tobacco products, which are likely to cause gum disease that can worsen your breath. In addition, diseases, as well as mouth, nose and throat conditions—such as sinus infections or allergies—can lead to halitosis. If you struggle with these conditions, talk to your doctor about potential treatment options. You'll likely see your bad breath improve once the underlying issue is addressed.
Fortunately, bad breath is often simply a result of poor oral hygiene, which means it can be easily reversed if you change your habits. Brushing and flossing daily can get rid of lingering food particles and plaque that act as a magnet for odor-causing bacteria. Taking care of your oral health can also benefit your general well-being, as gum disease and other issues in the mouth can worsen overall health.
Communication is key
It's never fun to tell your partner (or for them to tell you) that they, or you, have bad breath. In fact, it can be really embarrassing. But pushing the issue under the rug can create problems in your sex life because, who are we kidding, who wants to get up close and personal with a mouth full of smelly bacteria?
What's more, addressing bad breath can lead to improved oral hygiene, which will ultimately benefit your overall health. If your partner has bad breath, gently start a conversation about it. Make an effort not to make them feel embarrassed. It may not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but once you do it, you'll be back to making out in no time.