Everyone has bad breath from time to time…
If you’ve ever experienced that not-so-fresh feeling while you are on a date, spending time with your friends or at a job interview, you are not alone. Studies have shown that approximately half of all adults have experienced halitosis, or bad breath, sometime during their lives.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are several things that can cause bad breath. Most of the time, bad breath is harmless; however, it can sometimes signal that something serious is going on with your health.
Let’s take a look at the causes of bad breath.
* Bacteria – Bacteria that naturally live in your mouth can cause bad breath. The warm, moist environment of the mouth offers the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow. The bacteria feed on any food particles that remain in your mouth after eating. As the bacteria feed, they emit a foul smelling odor.
* Dry Mouth – If you feel thirsty or dehydrated, your mouth may not be producing enough saliva. Saliva helps to wash bacteria from your mouth. If you suffer from a dry mouth, the bacteria is not removed and your mouth isn’t as clean as it should be. A dry mouth can be due to excessive mouth breathing, salivary gland issues and certain medications.
* Gum Disease – If you have a bad taste in your mouth or bad breath that will not go away, it could be a sign that you have advanced gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque, which is the sticky bacteria that causes cavities.
* Food – Certain foods that you eat can cause bad breath. Some of the most common culprits include coffee, onions and garlic.
* Tobacco products and Smoking – Smoking not only is dangerous to your health but can stain your teeth. Tobacco products irritate your gums and can affect the way foods taste. Tobacco users often suffer from gum disease. Finally, because cigarette smoking affects your sense of smell, you may be unaware of the way your breath smells.
* Medical Conditions – Certain medical conditions can cause bad breath. If your dentist has ruled out gum disease and other dental issues, and you brush your teeth and floss daily, you may have an underlying medical problem. Some of the most common medical conditions that cause bad breath are gastric reflux, kidney disease, liver disease and sinus problems.
How Can You Prevent Bad Breath?
* Brushing and Flossing – You should brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day to help remove excess bacteria from the mouth. This bacteria could be the cause of your bad breath.
* Care for Your Tongue – When you are brushing and flossing your teeth, remember your tongue. If you stick your tongue out and look at the back of the tongue, you may notice a brown or white coating. This coating is where the bacteria that causes bad breath is located. Use your toothbrush or tongue scraper to remove this coating and improve your bad breath.
* Mouthwash – Mouthwash helps to neutralize bacteria and mask bad breath odors. Using mouthwash is only a temporary solution. If you do not floss and brush your teeth after eating, the bacteria in your mouth will begin to cause bad breath. If you can’t get to a toothbrush, mouthwash can be a temporary fix.
* Clean Your Dentures – If you wear dentures, you need to remove them at night and clean them before you put them in your mouth the next morning.
* Improve Your Saliva – If you suffer from dry mouth, you can help increase your saliva by eating foods like carrots or apples that require a lot of chewing. You can also chew a piece of gum or suck on a piece of sugar-free candy to improve saliva flow. Finally, your dentist may suggest an artificial saliva product to help relieve dry mouth.
* Stop Smoking – Quitting smoking is not only beneficial to your health, but it will also improve your breath.
* Visit Your Dentist Often – If you suffer from bad breath, you should make an appointment with your dentist. Regular dental checkups allow your dentist to spot any dental issues like gum disease or dry mouth early. If your dentist says your dental health is good, yet you still suffer from bad breath, you need to make an appointment with your primary care doctor to determine if an underlying medical condition is causing your bad breath.