Many people suffer from chronic bad breath or halitosis. Bad breath is something you do not want to be known for, and typically finding the cause is easy. If you suffer from bad breath but also brush, floss, or gargle each day the cause may not be obvious. Taking the time to figure out the underlying problem that may be causing your bad breath is important, and finding a cure can be simple. Don’t kill people with your breath! Save their nose. Bad breath is sometimes a sign of an underlying condition.
There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as realizing that you have bad breath. Whether you had just a bit too much garlic for lunch or you ran out the door without brushing your teeth, bad breath is a cloud that hangs over you for the whole day.
And as we start to head into the waning days of mask-wearing, conversing with friends and coworkers can be nerve-wracking if you’re also worried about whether they can smell your coffee breath. Even those of us who are diligent about our oral hygiene can suffer from halitosis.
But exactly what causes bad breath is more complicated than you might think.
What Causes Bad Breath
There are many reasons you may struggle with halitosis, but some of the most common bad breath causes include:
Poor dental hygiene habits:
- Whether you’ve been skipping the flossing (we’re all guilty of it once in our lives) or it’s been a while since you’ve popped in for a cleaning, poor oral care habits can lead to bad breath.
- Diets low in carbohydrates (i.e. Atkins, Keto) can often result in bad breath due to a release of chemicals that happens as the body buns fat. These are called ‘ketones’ and occur when the body enters the fat-burning stage of ketosis.
- Saliva contains antimicrobial properties that help eliminate the bacteria that causes bad breath. Without this natural production of saliva, your breath can smell stale and foul.
- Like dry mouth, dehydration leads to a decrease in saliva production. This causes bacteria in the mouth to grow, causing bad breath.
Not removing dentures at night and cleaning them properly:
- Just like flossing, taking proper care of your dentures can help prevent bad breath. If food particles get stuck and are left over night, they can begin to breakdown and the resulting in halitosis.
- If you suffer from heartburn or GERD, it’s likely you’ve experienced bad breath as an unwelcome symptom. That’s because when food doesn’t move out of the body effectively, it can start to decay in the stomach and contribute to bad breath.
- Mouth, nose, and throat infections: If you have a cold or sinusitis that causes postnasal drip, bad breath may not be far behind. The bacteria from these infections feeds on the mucus your body produces when it mounts an immune response, leading to bad breath.
- Ever taken a peek at the back of your throat and noticed little white spots? Well, you might have tonsil stones. While rare, tonsil stones develop when food and bacteria get trapped in the little crevices surrounding the tonsils. When this happens, the material hardens and can sometimes emit a foul odor.
Tobacco use resulting in “smokers’ breath”:
- We all know that tobacco is a “no-go” when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile. And the same is true for your breath. Not only do tobacco products leave their own odor in their wake, but smoking can lead to dry mouth and gum disease, both of which cause halitosis.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
If you’re embarrassed by bad breath, there are plenty of ways to remedy the situation. Here are a few simple ways to turn that bad breath into minty freshness:
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Try a warm saltwater rinse to eliminate unwanted bacteria
- Use an antibacterial toothpaste that gets rid of bacteria and plaque
- Replace your toothbrush once every two months
- Visit your dentist for bi-annual checkups and cleanings every six months
- Scrape your tongue with your toothbrush every morning and night
- Chew fresh mint, cilantro, or parsley
- Brush after every meal
- Avoid garlic and onions whenever possible
- Stop smoking
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and dry mouth
Bad breath is sometimes a sign of an underlying condition. If you’ve tried every fix on this list and still struggle with halitosis, schedule a check-up with your dentist to find out the next steps you should take to get your bad breath under control.
Call us for more information.
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