Every one of us has experienced bad breath at least one time in our life. Maybe it was something you ate. Perhaps you forgot or were just bored of brushing your teeth. Or you simply woke up and couldn’t stand the smell. Whatever the reason that’s causing your bad breath, it could be affecting your life and you might need to consider taking things more seriously. However, if you are experiencing bad breath even after brushing your teeth and it has started to affect your life, you should consider taking things more seriously.
Bad breath or bad mouth odor are terms that we use in our everyday life to describe this uncomfortable condition. The official medical term is halitosis, which comes from the Latin word halitus (breath) and the Greek suffix -osis (a state of disease). With halitosis, we describe any bad or unpleasant odor coming from the mouth air, and breath.
There are pathological and non-pathological factors that can be responsible for halitosis, from poor hygiene, infections, and diseases to food habits and smoking. The majority of them (almost 90% of cases) have to do with the oral cavity (the inside of the mouth).
Let’s break down some of the most common causes and how to treat them.
Bad hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath. With bad hygiene, food will remain trapped between your teeth. Then bacteria will start breaking down those small pieces of food that are stuck between your teeth and cause this odor. Many bacteria live on the tongue and can also be the reason since many people neglect to clean their tongue. Unclean dentures are also responsible for halitosis.
Dentist’s Advice: Brush your teeth regularly, and don’t forget to floss. Aside from the obvious reasons, brushing is also preventative of plague. Plaque is the “colorless film of bacteria” that can cause periodontal diseases and lead to bad breath and more serious issues. You can visit your dentist or dental hygienist for cleaning sessions but everyday brushing is the only way to keep the bacteria away. Also, remember to clean the back of your tongue and use an alcohol-free mouthwash before bedtime for extra protection.
Your diet can many times be the reason for halitosis. For example, eating foods with a strong odor, such as spices, onions, and garlic, affects your breath. Also, consuming a lot of sugary foods can be a reason because the bacteria in your mouth use sugar to feed themselves, releasing this bad smell.
Drinks like coffee or alcohol, when consumed regularly, lead to decreased production of saliva. This is an ideal condition for bacteria to develop and a bad odor to appear.
Smoking is a bad habit, and anyone knows the smell that it brings. But smoking can cause many more health issues, from tooth coloring, gum disease, and even mouth cancer.
Medication can also be hidden behind a bad mouth odor. Especially specific drugs that tend to dry your mouth, like vitamin supplements or antidepressants.
Dentist’s Advice: In terms of diet habits, avoid sugar and eat more vegetables and fruits. Using sugar-free mints or chewing gum will help with saliva production and odors. Drinking a lot of water will prevent a dry mouth and increase saliva production. Visit your dentist or hygienist regularly, discuss everything from diets to medication and if you smoke, please try to quit.
Dental Health Problems
Specific conditions like gum disease, yeast infections, dry mouth (also called xerostomia), misplaced dental appliances, or tooth decay, are associated with bad breath. These are all problems that can be found in the oral cavity and are responsible for the severity of your halitosis.
Dentist’s Advice: If your bad breath keeps you away from your everyday activities, see your dentist immediately. There may be underlying health issues that should be diagnosed and treated by a professional. Of course, the treatment depends on the condition and its severity, but usually, they are fairly easy to treat.
Other Medical Conditions
Medical conditions that may cause bad breath (nearly 8%) are seasonal allergies, infections (such as pneumonia, tonsillitis, or bronchitis), gastrointestinal issues (like acid reflux), endocrine system disorders such as diabetes, liver or kidney problems.
Dentist’s Advice: Although most of these conditions are rarely the reason behind halitosis, they should not be ignored. Start with your dentist. If there is no other oral-related condition or habit, then a visit to your GP may be the answer to your problem.
4 Steps To Get Rid of Bad Breath
To sum up, here are 4 steps that could help you treat your bad breath.
- Ask your friends or family if you smell. Sometimes we have the assumption of a bad odor, but it’s not always the case.
- After you confirm that something is wrong, start taking care of your oral hygiene thoroughly. Increase your brushing and flossing, and don’t forget to clean your tongue.
- Change your diet habits. Start drinking more water and eating foods that can “clean” your teeth, like apples and carrots. Avoid sugar, coffee, and alcohol. You could also keep a list of the things that you eat daily to keep track of what you consume.
- If you treat yourself for a few weeks and your bad breath still exists, the NHS recommends that you need to see your dentist. Also, if you experience painful, bleeding, or swollen gums, any tooth-related pain or discomfort, or you have some issues with your denture, don’t waste time and schedule a dentist appointment.
Your dental health is a crucial part of your overall health, and you should not dismiss your cleaning routine. Halitosis can cause many issues in your everyday life, not letting people come closer to you or you ending up keeping your distance. The best treatment for halitosis is prevention so take care of your dental health at home and visit your dental hygienist or dentist.
If you are experiencing any uncomfortable symptoms or your halitosis is not letting you live your best day every day, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule your check-up and let our expert team help you.