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What Causes Bad Breath?

Female with bad breathEverybody has experienced bad breath occasionally. Fortunately, for most people, the bad breath goes away with water, toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, mints and with flossing.

Avoiding certain potent foods such as onions and garlic are also things people consider when avoiding bad breath.

What about the patients that have constant bad breath that is worse than normal?

This condition of excessively bad breath is called halitosis.

Those suffering with halitosis regularly experience embarrassment and anxiety.

Halitosis isn’t a rare occurrence. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 4 people have bad breath. Bad breath is fairly common, so you can rest easy knowing you’re not alone.

What causes bad breath and how can it be treated?

Living a life of constant anxiety and embarrassment is nothing no one wants to experience.

Causes of Bad Breath

  • Bad oral hygiene. The biggest cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. When proper, inadequate dental care, food particles can get trapped between teeth. These food particles decay and decompose, emitting odorous bacterial acids in the mouth. The bacteria odor is what causes bad breath.
  • Smoking. Tobacco has a strong odor and the carcinogens coat the teeth, producing the same, smelly decomposing effect as food.
  • Alcohol dehydrates the mouth which enhances the decaying odors of the bacteria in the mouth. Alcohol also disrupts your digestive system which can increase acid reflux which add to the germs and bacteria already in the mouth.
  • Tooth decay. The bacteria and germs eating away at teeth can produce unpleasant odors that come out as bad breath.
  • Dry mouth. Saliva is your body’s natural mouth cleaning system. Saliva wipes off food particles and plaque that coat and get stuck between teeth. When your mouth is dry, you don’t have this natural mouth cleaner. As a result, the bacteria on and between the teeth will decay, producing odors in the mouth.
  • Certain foods such as onions and garlic can emit a strong odor that is also carried into the mouth as bad breath. A diet high in sticky foods and candies as well as hard candy can also lead to bad breath because of how hard the food particles are to remove.
  • Other medical issues. Bacterial infections and inflammation of the nose, throat or sinuses, the presence of a foreign body, certain cancers, and gastroesophageal disease (GERD) can contribute to halitosis.

There are other, lesser known causes of bad breath that would be suggested you discuss with your dentist or doctor about.

Now that the biggest causes of bad breath are known, how is it treated?

Treatments for Halitosis

Practice good oral hygiene: This means brushing your teeth twice a day, preferably after every meal, and daily flossing.

Clean dental work: Every piece of removable dental mouth wear needs to be removed and cleaned daily.  This daily cleaning will limit the build-up of bacteria as well as the transferring of bacteria back into the mouth. Similarly, your toothbrush needs to be replaced every 2-3 months.

Don’t forget your tongue: While attention is on teeth and gums, the tongue is just as important. Your tongue catches more bacteria, food particles and dead cells than your teeth and gums. Yet, we often forget this feature. A tongue scraper is a good tool to clean off your tongue.

Avoid dry mouth: Drink a lot of water and avoid alcohol and tobacco, both of which dehydrate the mouth. Chewing gum or sucking a sweet (preferably sugar-free) can help stimulate the production of saliva.

Diet: Avoid onions, garlic, spicy and sugary foods. Reduce coffee and alcohol consumption. Eating a breakfast that includes rough foods can help clean the back of the tongue.

Bad oral hygiene, underlying health issues, and dental decay are some of the more common causes of bad breath. Proper dental hygiene and cleaning of dental equipment are some ways to reduce bad breath.

If you have consistent bad breath, and are tired of the daily embarrassment, schedule an appointment with us at LeDown’s Dentistry today.

We want our patients to live the full and enjoyable life possible.

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