What are causes of bad breath in humans and dogs? And what can I do to make it smell better?
Kristi Johnson, Santa Fe
That’s an interesting question. As it turns out, some of the same problems that cause bad breath in humans also cause it in dogs. To illustrate, the food we eat can affect the odor in our mouths. But there are many other reasons besides that. They include having gum disease or tooth decay, being ill, having too little saliva, having diabetes, or just needing to brush and floss.
When it comes to making breath smell better, there are also similarities between canines and humans. For example, if your dog’s breath smells sour, try changing his food. Or take him to the vet for a proper dental checkup and cleaning. And make sure he has plenty of water to drink.
As for humans, if you or someone you know has bad breath, visit a dentist for a cleaning to make sure there are no cavities. Also, make a regular habit of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, even if you have false teeth. Clean stained dentures daily, too. Baking soda is ideal for stain removal, as well as for eliminating mouth odors.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue when you brush your teeth or dentures. If you wake up with a nasty taste in your mouth, swish with water. Sometimes people produce too little saliva at night, and that lets odor-causing bacteria thrive.
Braces often get food stuck in the crevices, which can also lead to bad breath. Be sure to clean braces daily and, if at all possible, rinse your mouth after eating to dislodge food particles.
If the bad breath continues, check with your doctor about any medications you’re taking and whether your health could be causing the problem. Sometimes constipation or kidney problems can cause a bad odor, so try drinking more water to help. Diabetes can also complicate things. And if you smoke, it’s difficult to resolve bad breath without stopping smoking.
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Hope it helps,