I have a big problem, and I'm hoping you can help. I'm 18 years old, finishing up my senior year of high school. Here's what's happening: I've been meeting with college reps to have in-person interviews, and I keep getting bad breath, like, just beforehand! Seriously, I brush, floss and rinse with some that mouthwash that really burns, but I still get bad breath on the way to my interviews. What's going on here? My mouth is already dry enough as it is during these meet-ups, and now I get bad breath?? Please help!
- David (Austin, TX)
I'm glad you asked, David. I think I know what's giving you halitosis, but to help you treat it, first you need to know what causes dry mouth. I promise, 200 words from now you'll be on your way to fresher breath!
So here's the deal. For an 18-year-old, your dental health routine is impressive. Few guys your age are brushing, flossing AND using mouthwash. But there's one step in your regimen that is hamstringing you: the last one. You wrote that your mouthwash "really burns." As my car mechanic loves to say: Well, there's your problem.
From your description, it sounds like your mouth rinse is alcohol-based. This is often what causes dry mouth among people who are trying to take good care of their teeth and breath. You see, alcohol dries out your tongue and palate. Once dry, your mouth is the perfect breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria, which then pump out the sulfur-based molecules that give halitosis its interview-ruining smell.
I'm also guessing that you're pretty anxious to make a good impression at these meetings? Well, being nervous can also dry out your mouth, as I'm sure you know by now.
So here's the solution. Look into getting an alcohol-free mouthwash, invest in some specialty gums that oxygenate and moisten your mouth, and ditch the cheap mouthwash you're using. By freshening your breath, you might be able to relax and make a great first impression!