Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be embarrassing and, in some cases, anxiety-inducing. So it’s no surprise that gum, mints, mouthwashes, and other products to combat bad breath abound on store shelves. But unfortunately, many of these products are only band-aid solutions that do not address the underlying cause of the issue.
Among the causes of bad breath are certain foods, health conditions, and habits. In many cases, consistent good dental hygiene can help to improve bad breath. However, if simple self-care techniques do not solve the problem, consult your dentist at Tampa dental clinic to ensure that a more serious condition does not cause bad breath.
What Are The Causes of Bad Breath?
Most bad breath begins in the mouth, and numerous causes exist. They are as follows:
- Food. The breakdown of food particles around your teeth can promote the growth of bacteria and cause a bad odor. Certain foods, such as onions, spices, and garlic, can also contribute to bad breath. This is because these foods enter your bloodstream after digestion, carrying them to your lungs and affecting your breathing.
- Products containing tobacco. Smoking produces an unpleasant odor in the mouth. Oral tobacco users and smokers are also more likely to have gum disease, another cause of bad breath.
- Poor dental hygiene. Food debris and particles remain in your mouth if you do not brush and floss daily, causing bad breath—plaque (a colorless, sticky film of bacteria). Plaque, if not removed, can irritate your gums, eventually resulting in plaque-filled pockets between your teeth gums and teeth. Your tongue can also trap bacteria that cause odors. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or that aren’t properly fitted can harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles.
- Dry mouth. Saliva aids in the cleansing of your mouth by removing particles that cause bad odors. A dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can contribute to bad breath because saliva production is reduced. A dry mouth occurs naturally during sleep. This causes “morning breath,” which is exacerbated when you open your mouth. Furthermore, a chronic dry mouth can be caused by a problem with your salivary glands or certain diseases.
- Medications. Some medications can contribute to bad breath indirectly by causing dry mouth. Others can be degraded in the body, releasing chemicals that can be inhaled.
- Infections with Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after an oral surgery, such as tooth extraction, tooth decay, gum disease, or mouth sores.
- Other conditions have an impact on the mouth, nose, and throat. Small stones that form in your tonsils and are covered in odor-producing bacteria can occasionally cause bad breath. Postnasal drip and bad breath can be caused by infections or chronic inflammation of the nose, sinuses, or throat.
- Other factors. Diseases such as cancer and metabolic disorders can cause a distinct breath odor due to the chemicals they produce. Chronic stomach acid reflux can cause bad breath (gastroesophageal reflux disease). A foreign body, such as a piece of food, lodged in a nostril can cause bad breath in young children.
How Can You Fix Bad Breath?
Whether you wake up with dragon breath or notice a bad odor coming from your mouth several times per day, halitosis is usually treatable quickly and easily by practicing good oral hygiene. Here are five suggestions to help you in avoiding bad breath:
- Brushing frequently removes some of the bacteria that cause bad breath. Oral hygiene is key in maintaining a healthy breath.
- Avoid tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco can produce unpleasant odors that are difficult to remove.
- Stay hydrated: Because a dry mouth can lead to bad breath, drinking plenty of water is critical.
- Use mouthwash: Alcohol-free mouthwashes can help kill bacteria and neutralize odors that cause bad breath without leaving you feeling dry.
- Visit your dentist at Wang & Cortes Dental. The mouth is responsible for approximately 80 to 90% of the causes of bad breath. Perhaps your mouth guard hasn’t been properly cleaned, your teeth aren’t sitting properly in your mouth, or your dentures don’t fit. A dentist can assist you in each of these situations.
While stinky breath is usually harmless, it can also indicate a more serious problem. In every case, you should see your primary care physician. Your dentist in Tampa can run tests to confirm halitosis, detect compounds associated with bad breath, and then make a diagnosis.