Bad breath is more common than you think, affecting approximately 50 percent of the adult population. Also known as halitosis, this can be an embarrassing condition. It can sometimes lead to anxiety in social situations. While the market is filled with mints, gum, mouthwashes, and other products designed to battle bad breath, it’s important to pinpoint the underlying cause when possible. Here’s a look at some of the most common causes and how to treat it.
Bad breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria due to plaque, gum disease, certain foods, and other factors.
Common causes of bad breath and odor problems include:
- Certain Foods – The food you eat gets broken down in the mouth, absorbed into the bloodstream, and then into the lungs, affecting the air you exhale. This is most apparent when eating foods with strong odors, such as onions and garlic. However, other foods are also known to contribute to bad breath, such as cheese, orange juice, pastrami, alcohol, and some spices.
- Poor Oral Health – Poor brushing and flossing habits can result in food that sits in the mouth. Food collects on the teeth, gums, and tongue. It eventually rots, creating an unpleasant taste in the mouth and accompanying odor.
- Periodontal Disease – A common symptom of periodontal or “gum” disease is bad breath. Your dentist can help you treat your gum disease and eliminate your bad breath.
- Dry Mouth – Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth is a condition that causes a decrease in saliva production. When the mouth is unable to cleanse itself and remove debris, bad breath can develop.
- Tobacco Products – Cigarettes and other tobacco products can all stain the teeth and increase your risk of developing certain health conditions. They can also cause bad breath and contribute to irritated gums, periodontal disease, and even oral cancer.
- Health Conditions – Some health conditions have been known to cause bad breath. Some of these conditions include respiratory infections, diabetes, liver or kidney disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders.
- Bacteria on the Tongue – Odor-causing bacteria can be found on the tongue. When these bacteria interact with amino acids found in food, they can produce unpleasant-smelling sulfur compounds.
Treatment consists of practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding cavities, and lowering your risk of gum disease. If your bad breath is caused by an underlying health condition, speak with your primary care provider.
Bad breath caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth can often be reduced or eliminated with a mouthwash designed to kill this bacteria. Your dentist may recommend toothpaste, mouthwash, and other oral health products that contain an antibacterial agent.
Changes in lifestyle habits can also help prevent bad breath. Brush after you eat to prevent food from sitting on your teeth. Floss at least once a day and brush your tongue daily to prevent an overgrowth of bacteria. Avoid dry mouth by drinking plenty of water and avoiding the use of tobacco products.
Book an Appointment
If you are experiencing ongoing bad breath, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Contact Vero Elite Dentistry today for more information.