What Really Causes Bad Breath?Bad breath is no laughing matter. Everyone suffers periods of unpleasant breath from time to time. But have you ever found yourself engaged in a conversation with someone that you just couldn’t wait till it was over or you had to keep turning your head because his or her breath was so bad? Do you think anyone has ever thought that way about you? Bad breath can be very socially embarrassing, but because of social norms, most people will not tell the person with bad breath or halitosis that they do indeed have a problem that needs to be addressed.
Where Bad Breath Comes FromThe root cause of most bad breath is bacteria. Bacteria gives off waste products that contain sulphurous compounds, anyone who has ever had the unpleasant experience of smelling a rotten egg, knows that sulfur smells really, really bad. Everyone has bacteria in their mouth. However improper dental care that leads to a build of plaque, or gingivitis (gum disease) all mean more bacteria. More bacteria, more waste. More waste more stink. Allowing bacteria to proliferate in the mouth also leads to tooth decay, decaying teeth are also a source of bad breath. A dry mouth either caused by stress or any number of other conditions can also lead to bad breath. Again less salvia present to wash them away means more bacteria.
There are other causes of bad breath:
- Diet does play a role, and not just in terms of eating bad breath producing foods such as onions or garlic. Certain diets in general lead to bad breath. People on high protein low carb diets all seem to experience bad breath.
- Smoking causes bad breath
- Certain medications have bad breath, or dry mouth as a side effect – which can lead to bad breath
- Some underlying health problems such as liver disease, diabetes or lung disease change the smell of your breath
Do I have Bad Breath?It is actually rather difficult to smell your own breath. So unless you have a really bad case, you are probably only going to know it if someone comes out and tells you, or their body language would seem to suggest it to you during conversation. However if no one has said you have bad breath, or reacted as such, there are a couple of signs that could indicate it.
- An unusual or “tinny” taste in the mouth
- A white or grayish coating on the tongue
What Can be Done About Bad Breath?There is actually quite a bit that can be done to reduce or eliminate bad breath. Unless there is a serious underlying medical problem most bad breath can be eliminated or avoided with good oral care. That means regular brushing and flossing, and using a good antibacterial mouthwash. The key to fresh breath and a clean mouth is to reduce the presence of bacteria. Avoid foods that are high in sugars. If you cannot brush your teeth after every meal, at least drink water, or rinse your mouth with water after each meal. You can avoid dry mouth by chewing on sugarless gum. However understand that gums, mints, and mouthwashes only cover up bad breath temporarily, and do not get to the root of the problem. If you smoke – think about quitting, fresher breath will be only one of the health benefits.
And finally if your bad breath persists after doing these simple things, it is best to see your dentist or other medical professional. Bad breath can be a sign not only of a serious oral problem such as gum disease, but other underlying medical conditions.
Your dentist can also recommend a course of treatment designed to reduce bacteria and plaque and restore healthy gums. This can create a wining smile and fresher breath to go along with it.