Dentists estimate that approximately 80% of bad breath, also known as halitosis, is caused by an oral source.
Often, cavities or gum disease can create bad breath; both of these conditions are caused by accumulated debris on and between the teeth.
Once this debris hardens into plaque or calculus, it can be difficult to remove and can lead to long-term oral odor.
Bad breath may be combated and prevented, however, by simply using dental floss daily in addition to brushing with fluoride toothpaste.
Flossing daily improves bad breath by removing food particles and bacteria that can become lodged between your teeth.
These particles and bacteria can form a whitish film between teeth and emit sulfuric compounds that have unpleasant odors.
If left untreated, dental plaque can lead to chronic bad breath and other oral-health issues like gum disease.
Flossing allows you to remove debris and plaque from the spaces between teeth where a toothbrush might not be able to reach.
Most dentists recommend flossing between your teeth at least once a day after brushing, preferably twice per day.
In addition to removing food particles and bacteria that have become lodged, flossing also helps prevent periodontal disease, which is another common cause of bad breath.
If you are unsure how to clean between your teeth efficiently, ask your dentist or dental hygienist at your next cleaning or exam.
When you first begin to floss, your gums may bleed slightly.
This should subside within a few days of regular flossing.
If bleeding persists for longer or becomes widespread in your mouth, see your dentist, since frequent bleeding can indicate the presence of gum disease.
To effectively treat bad breath, make sure you are maintaining a good oral-hygiene routine of brushing your teeth, tongue, and gums in addition to daily flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash as needed.