Bad breath, medically called halitosis, is an embarrassing health condition that affects approximately 30% of people around the world. It can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.
If you do not brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. Antibacterial mouth rinses also can help reduce bacteria. In addition, odour-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.
Four Common Bad Breath Causes Although this is something everyone experiences at one time or another, if your case does not improve after brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth with an alcohol free mouthwash, it may be chronic. There are many underlying causes of halitosis, but four of them are very common.
Dry mouth : Long periods of speaking, smoking, drinking alcohol, and snoring are a few common underlying causes. For healthy individuals, food odours are temporary and normal salivary flow will eliminate them within several minutes. However, those who suffer from dry mouth and lack of saliva find that even minor food odours may lead to long-term issues.
Foods : Halitosis can be exacerbated by certain foods such as onions and garlic because they contain smelly sulphur compounds, while dairy, meat, and fish contain dense proteins which are used as a food source by the anaerobic, sulphur-producing bacteria. Refined and processed sugars also provide a food source for bacteria. Coffee and juices can contribute to this problem because they are acidic and provide these bacteria with an ideal breeding environment.
Poor dental hygiene : Teeth cannot shed their surfaces the way skin can, so microorganisms can easily attach to the teeth and remain there for extended periods. If they are not continuously removed by adequate brushing, these bacteria develop into something called biofilm, commonly known as dental plaque. When plaque is allowed to accumulate near the gumline, it will harden and begin destroying teeth and gum tissues due to intense bacterial activity. Tooth decay and poorly fitting or dirty dentures can also contribute to this problem.
Illness and disease : Individuals who suffer from diabetes, lung disease, kidney disease, cancer, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, or metabolic disorders often experience chronic foul breath due to dry mouth. Other common illnesses associated with bad breath include nasal odour and tonsil stones, yeast infections of the mouth, and gum disease. Certain drugs such as antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, and antihistamines can factor into dry mouth because they reduce saliva production.
Halitosis is rarely associated with life-threatening diseases. However, it is important that you consult your doctor or dentist as soon as you notice irregular conditions in the mouth. Taking proper care of your teeth and visiting the dentist at least twice a year are the easiest ways to avoid the severe issues.