Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can result from poor dental hygiene habits or can be a sign of a health problem. Bad breath can also result from the type of food you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. Approximately 30% of the population complains of having some sort of bad breath. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and treat this issue. This blog will go over what causes bad breath and what to do about it.
What is Bad Breath?
While it’s normal to experience bad breath in the morning when you wake up or after eating a garlicky meal, it’s not normal to have it for a prolonged period of time. Halitosis can originate both inside and outside the mouth. It is typically caused by bacteria present on the teeth and debris on the tongue. However, there is no single causing factor for it. Below we’ll cover the different factors that can cause bad breath and how you can prevent and treat it.
How Does Food Affect Bad Breath?
All the food you eat commences the breakdown process in your mouth. Food also gets absorbed into the bloodstream, which eventually moves to your lung, affecting the air you exhale. So when you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic), brushing, flossing, and even mouth washing will merely cover up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away entirely until the foods have passed through your body. Common types of food that can cause bad breath include:
- Orange Juice
- Certain spices
- Canned fish
Likewise, dieters who don’t eat often can also experience bad breath. When bodies break down fat, the process releases chemicals that can give people’s breath an unpleasant smell.
Why Do Poor Hygiene Habits Cause Bad Breath?
While it may seem obvious, brushing and flossing play a vital role in your oral health. If you don’t brush or floss your teeth daily, food particles will remain in your mouth. This promotes bacterial growth between teeth, on the tongue, and around the gums. With the accumulation of this, it’ll eventually lead to bad breath.
In addition to odor-causing bacteria and food particles, smoking and chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath. When it comes to oral health, tobacco is your enemy. Besides causing bad breath, it also stains your teeth, irritates your gums, and reduces your ability to taste food.
What Health Problems are Associated with Bad Breath?
Persistent bad breath and/or bad taste in the mouth can be a sign of a health problem. One of the most common ones is periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease! Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth. This bacteria causes toxins to form, which irritates the gums. Other causes of bad breath include the following health issues:
- Yeast infection
- Xerostomia (also known as dry mouth)
- Seasonal allergies
- Pneumonia or Bronchitis
- Long-term (chronic) sinus infections
- Postnasal Drip
- Chronic acid reflux
- Chronic lung infection
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Kidney or liver problems
What Can I Do to Prevent Bad Breath?
There are several things you can do to eliminate or prevent bad breath. It can be prevented by:
- Practicing good hygiene – Brush twice a day to remove plaque and food debris. You should also brush your teeth after having a meal. Remember to brush your tongue as well. Replace your toothbrush every 2 – 3 months, or after you’ve gotten ill. Floss once per day and use mouthwash from time to time.
- See Your Dentist Regularly – Everyone should see their dentist at least twice per year. By getting an oral exam and professional cleaning, you will be able to find and treat issues that cause bad breath, such as periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other oral problems. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and the odor is not associated with your oral health, you may be referred to your family doctor or specialist to determine the source and a treatment plan.
- Stay Hydrated – Drink lots of water! This will help keep your mouth moist and your saliva at an optimal state.
- Eat More Fruits & Veggies – Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat. Carrots, apples, celery, and other fruits and veggies help clear odor-causing plaque and food particles in your mouth.
- Watch What You Consume – It’s a smart idea to keep a log of all of the foods you eat. If you think that the food is what’s causing your bad breath, bring it to your dentist for review. If you’re on medications, bring in a list of everything you take. Some drugs play a role in creating mouth odors.
- Stop Smoking – As previously mentioned, smoking is your worst enemy in terms of oral health. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
Having bad breath is no fun. Whether it be due to poor dental hygiene or the things you consume, there’s a way you can combat the issue. We hope this blog helped you understand what causes bad breath and what to do about it. The best way to solve this problem is by meeting with your dentist! They’ll help you identify the cause and create a plan for resolving the issue. If you have any questions or would like to schedule your appointment, please call (619) 444-1001, or click here. We are located at 707 Arnele Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92020.