Have you ever had to listen to a person whose beautiful words were accompanied with an unbearable bad odor? Surely you will not be among such people, but nearly half of Americans are reported to believe they suffer from bad breath. In medical jargon, bad breath is known as halitosis.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can result from a variety of causes, most of which you can be easily controlled or prevent by modifying some of your dental care lifestyle habits.
Poor Oral Hygiene Maintenance – this probably is the biggest source of bad breath. Job compulsions, and rest and recreation, all demand time out of the fixed twenty-four hours. Oral hygiene may often suffer in this battle for time. The fact is that when you eat, some fine particles of food mix with your saliva and immediately start forming a fine layer on all surfaces of your teeth. This layer is called a plaque. Bacteria that is always present in the mouth thrive on this plaque. Unless you clean your teeth and mouth regularly by brushing, flossing and rinsing, these bacteria, apart from promoting erosion of your dental enamel, cause gum disease and inflammation. Gums get inflamed, bleed, and separate from the teeth forming pockets. That is called gingivitis. Bacteria colonize these pockets and destroy the gums, causing blood, oozing pus, and bad odor. If you are wearing some dental appliances and do not clean them regularly, that may also cause bad breath.
Poor Dietary Habits – certain foods like onions and garlic have a strong odor of their own. Consuming them will immediately produce bad odor in the mouth. Other foods, like some radishes, generate a bad odor on decomposition in the stomach. The smell will not go away until the food is completely digested. In addition, alcoholic drinks and tobacco chewing or smoking also invariably leaves a bad odor which persists for quite a few hours. Habitual drinkers and smokers always generate that odor although they become immune to it themselves.
Medical Conditions - Certain diseases and medical problems have also been known to cause bad breath as noted below:
Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums is one of the main cause of bad breath
Yeast Infections – other diseases like a yeast infection in the mouth and caries can also result in this unpleasant situation.
Dry Mouth – dry mouth is a condition where there is insufficient production or flow of saliva in the oral cavity. Dry mouth can occur due to various medical problems, or due to the intake of certain medications, and can cause bad breath indirectly by promoting oral disease and plaque deposition.
Gastrointestinal Problems – Gastric problems like indigestion can also generate bad breath while it lasts.
Respiratory Problems – respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip.
Preventing Bad Breath
Getting rid of bad breath is quite simple. In most cases, it goes away by simply adjusting your dietary and oral hygiene habits. Treatment of bad breath involves removal of the cause by following these tips:
Strict Oral Hygiene - Always review your oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene involves regular brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal, but at least twice a day. Each time you should take at least two minutes spreading the time over all the teeth evenly, including the inside surfaces of the teeth. Floss after every meal, and if not possible at least rinse vigorously. Also, replace your toothbrush every three months.
Antiseptic Mouthwashes - This can help reduce bad breath, remove food particles between the teeth and limit the formation of plaque build up.
Dental Check Ups - Visit your dentist for regular teeth check ups. The recommended period is once every six months. The dentist will be able to inspect and clean those areas that are inaccessible with regular brushing and flossing.
Give Up Alcohol and Tobacco - Alcohol and tobacco along with their derivatives not only give bad breath but are also bad for your health. If you must consume these, reduce the intake and follow it by having a mint or breath freshener.
Use Mints and Gums having Xylitol - Xylitol products can suppress the odor temporarily.
Other Causes - In addition to these steps, your dentist may be able to advise if there may be other reasons for bad breath. He or she should be able to refer you to a physician if necessary.
Having bad breath not only creates a social problem, but also indicates an underlying problem with your dental health. Therefore, you must not take it lightly, but consider next steps to improve it. If you feel that people are avoiding you because of bad breath, visit your dentist right away and get rid of this problem to help restore the clean, fresh breath you deserve.
Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns in the comments. And if you have any other concerns with bad breath, please don’t hesitate to call us today or book an appointment online.