Bad Breath? What now?

woman with her hands over her mouth

What Are Common Bad Breath Causes?

If you suffer from chronic, severe bad breath, also known as halitosis, it’s important to identify the cause so you can determine an effective treatment.

Halitosis has many causes, including the following:

  • Tobacco use. If you smoke, quit. Your bad breath may be due to other causes, too, but tobacco use is a guarantee of bad breath. If you are ready to quit, ask your doctor or dentist for advice and support. Smoking doesn’t help the rest of your health either, so it really isn’t a good idea to continue.
  • What you eat, or don’t eat. Certain foods, such as garlic, contribute to bad breath, but only temporarily. Once they are absorbed into the bloodstream, the smell is expelled through the breath, but the odours remain until the body processes the food, so there’s no quick fix for this one.
  • Dry mouth. If your mouth is extremely dry, there is not enough saliva to wash away excess food particles and bacteria, which can cause an unpleasant smell if they build up on the teeth. Sipping plain water and good oral hygiene practices are straightforward solutions to this problem. More severe cases may need assistance in the form of saliva substitutes.
  • Poor dental or gum health. Tooth decay and the resultant cavities provide a safe haven for millions of bacteria and these guys will go to work on food products to ensure an unpleasant odour emerges. Likewise, the pockets caused by gum disease are a brilliant place or all of those gum disease causing bacteria to ‘dine out’ on trapped food debris. You should ensure that you visit your dentist regularly to ensure you do not have any ‘bacteria nightclubs’ lying around.
  • Infections. Bad breath that seems to have no other cause may indicate an infection elsewhere in the body. If you have chronic bad breath and your dentist rules out any oral or dental problems, you should see your doctor for an evaluation. Bad breath can be a sign of a range of conditions including respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis or bronchitis, diabetes, or liver and kidney problems, so it’s important not to ignore the problem.

The best way to improve bad breath is to follow a thorough oral care routine including twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing to remove the food particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath. Regular hygienist visits will help ensure good overall oral health. Mouthwashes only improve bad breath for the short term, and if you have a chronic problem, your dentist may suggest an antimicrobial rinse to help keep bacteria at bay.

 

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