The Top 8 Causes of Bad Breath
Posted by Hirsh Goswamy, VP of Marketing at LIVFRESH on Jul 12th 2022
Do you suffer from bad breath? You are not alone. Bad breath is a very common problem, and everyone has it from time to time. When you’re worried about how your breath smells, it can make you feel self-conscious and get in the way of socializing. There are many different causes of bad breath, and fortunately, there are also many ways to treat it. This blog post will discuss the top causes of bad breath and what you can do about them.
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
The number one cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. If you don't brush your teeth and floss regularly, plaque will build up on your teeth and gums, and bacteria will grow in your mouth. This bacteria causes bad breath. Fresh breath starts with good oral hygiene:
Tooth-brushing gets rid of food debris that can stick to your teeth and cause bad breath. It also helps prevent plaque buildup and cavities. Brush at least twice a day, for at least two minutes at a time. It’s also a good idea to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or whenever the bristles start fraying.
Dental floss removes food from between your teeth, places where your toothbrush bristles can’t reach. If you are only brushing and not flossing, you may be missing food particles that can lead to bacterial buildup and bad breath. Floss at least once per day, either before going to bed, or first thing in the morning.
Remove and Cleanse False Teeth and Dentures Every Night
If you’ve got dentures or some other sort of removable teeth, take them out and wash them every night. Failure to do so will result in stale, foul odors coming from your mouth.
Clean Your Entire Mouth, Not Just Your Teeth
Your tongue is also home to bacteria that can cause bad breath. Use the back of your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to keep your tongue fresh and clean. Remember to clean the back of your tongue as well, and check for any visible film along the top and sides. It is also recommended that you brush along your gums, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth to keep your whole mouth clean and smelling pleasant.
Swish and Gargle with Water
Swishing and gargling with water when you awaken can help eliminate morning breath. It is common for overnight postnasal drip to leave mucus lining the back of the throat, and swishing water around your mouth can help to clean out that potential cause of morning breath.
Use Mouthwash Between Brushing
Use a mouthwash to help rinse away food particles and bacteria, as well as refresh your entire mouth, between brushing sessions. Many mouthwashes also provide additional antibacterial protection.
2. Dry Mouth
Having a dry mouth can also cause bad breath. When your mouth is dry, there is less saliva to wash away food and bacteria.
If you have a dry mouth, you should drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. This will help keep your mouth hydrated. You can also chew sugarless gum which stimulates saliva flow, helping to keep your mouth clean and stop bacteria from building up. But avoid gum with added sugars, as sugar helps oral bacteria to grow and can actually worsen bad breath.
3. Strong Foods and Drink
Certain strong-smelling foods may cause bad breath, including foods that are high in sulfur, such as garlic and onions. During digestion, the sulfur compounds in these foods are released into the bloodstream, and then exhaled through the lungs, resulting in bad breath.
Other strong foods that can contribute to bad breath include cheese, pastrami, certain spices, caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
On the other hand, some foods can freshen your breath. These include foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and probiotic yogurt, which can help remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth by reducing the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth. Drinking green tea or lemon water is also effective.
Smoking cigarettes or cigars causes the mouth to dry, and the oils from the cigarette smoke will remain in your mouth and in the respiratory tract for some time, causing bad breath.
If you smoke, try quitting. Not only will it improve your overall health, but you will also have fresher breath. If you are unable to quit smoking, try using a smoking cessation product, such as nicotine gum or patches. These products can help you quit smoking and reduce your chances of bad breath.
5. Respiratory Diseases
Bad breath can also signify the existence of respiratory diseases like inflamed blocked sinuses, or inflamed tonsillitis. For example, tonsillitis stones are areas bacteria will collect and multiply rapidly, causing bad breath. Included in this list are also seasonal allergies and postnasal drip.
6. Underlying Medical Conditions and the Effects of Medication
Other medical conditions that may cause bad breath include diabetes, liver, kidney and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as digestive disorders including acid reflux. Included in this list are also seasonal allergies. All cause bad breath.
Some medicines, such as diuretics dehydrate the body, which causes reduced saliva in the mouth, causing bad breath.
Immune system disorders often result from ongoing high levels of stress. The end result is often bad breath in addition to other serious issues.
An example of this is a reduced immune system response necessary to resist infections. Some of these “opportunistic infections” can ultimately cause bad breath. An example of an Impaired Immune System response is Oral Thrush. Oral thrush is a yeast infection that usually forms on the top of the tongue or insides of the cheeks.
Stress can also result in metabolic dysfunctions that result in Gastrointestinal issues. Problems may arise within your intestines and digestive tract as you stress out about things. Because of this, acid reflux might occur, causing halitosis. Acid reflux is an issue where the acid in your stomach will come up into your esophagus and even into the back of your throat. Not only will it cause bad breath, but it can also bring about pain, swelling, a burning sensation and much more.
Dealing with extreme and ongoing stress may require physician or other professional intervention.
8. Particular Weight Reduction Diets
Followers of the ketogenic diet can find themselves suffering from what's known as 'keto breath,' which is caused by the increased level of acetones in their body. Drinking plenty of water and using sugar-free gum or mints with xylitol is the best way to counter “Keto-breath.” Diet fads come and go. While most people don’t make these diets and eating plans permanent, it’s important to continue to care for your teeth and gums while dieting. Proper dental hygiene helps keep bacteria in the mouth in check, preventing it from spreading to other parts of the body.
As you can see, many of these top causes of bad breath are interrelated and even feed on each other. Ongoing issues with bad breath should always be taken seriously and if not resolved by direct action within a short time, medical help should be sought.
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