Bad breath happens to all of us. It even has a scientific name: Halitosis. Bad breath occurs when bacteria breed on the tongue, teeth and in the oral cavity. When bacteria in our mouth break down the proteins in our food it creates a sort of sulfuric type of odor.
But for some people, stinky breath is more than just a periodic nuisance that strikes first thing in the morning or after a garlicky meal. It may be a constant source of embarrassment or distress. In rare cases, it m
ay even signal a brewing health condition.
If you are experiencing bad breath that cannot be explained by bad oral hygiene habits such as smoking or what you ate or drank, one of these reasons may be the cause;
Poor oral hygiene
Most bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene. If you don’t clean your teeth and your whole mouth regularly, food particles can remain in your mouth and a sticky buildup of bacteria (also known as plaque) can form on your teeth. The uneven surface of your tongue as well as your tonsils can trap food particles and bacteria in the mouth which produce bad breath odor. Poor oral hygiene also causes other oral health conditions such as cavities and gum disease which are also associated with bad breath. Keeping a consistent and thorough oral care routine is the best defense against bad breath.
Gum disease is the infection of the gums that causes your gums to separate from the teeth. It occurs when food particles accumulate in your gums and teeth, forming tartar. If left unchecked, it extends below the gum line, causing an infection. Keep your gums healthy by going for routine dental cleanings and exams. This allows your dentist to monitor your gum’s health.
Bad breath can result from weight loss dieting, especially when you increase proteins and reduce carbohydrates. Carbohydrates play a significant role in the body. When your body doesn’t get enough carbs due to aggressive dieting, your body’s metabolism changes, causing bad breath. Foods high in proteins release sulphurous gases making it hard for the body to digest them. The excessive burning of fats produces chemicals with a strong aroma called ketones.
Incorporate more herbs and vegetables into your diet to make it more nutritious and balanced. Also, try drinking more water if this is the case.
Allergies and sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the airways to collapse, resulting in restrictive breathing. People with sleep apnea may breathe through their mouth at night, leading to a dry mouth.
Saliva cleans your mouth by removing food particles that cause bad breath. When the production of saliva decreases, oral bacteria increases resulting in halitosis.
Seek treatment if you suffer from a condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult.
Hundreds of prescription medications come with the side effect of dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, when saliva production decreases, the environment for odor-causing bacteria thrives. Any extended period of time with cotton mouth can cause discomfort and lead to bad breath. Additionally, some medications, when broken down in the body, release chemicals that can be carried through your blood stream to your breath.
How Can I Control Bad Breath?
We recommend visiting one of our dentists on Lady’s Island regularly because checkups will help detect any systemic causes. Checkups also help to get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. It is important to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day to remove bacteria, plaque, and food particles. To alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper (a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue).
In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water. Try chewing sugar-free gum that contains xylitol—it also may help control odor. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or mouthguard, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouthrinses or deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with your dentist, because some of these products do little to eliminate bad breath. Instead, your dentist can recommend products that have proven successful.