Halitosis or bad breath is not something that you can just ignore. Although its root cause may be something that can be easily treated by brushing your teeth, it can also be a result of a more serious condition that needs treatment. You need to be aware of the main causes of bad breath and the best ways to prevent or cure them.
Bad Oral Hygiene
Leftover bits of food left inside your mouth (especially sugary foods) causes the growth of bacteria, which turns into plaque and creates the unpleasant odour when you speak. This will happen if you don’t clean your mouth after every meal. So just like what your dentists have been telling, make a good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. Using any type of mouthwash is also helpful.
Oral Health Problems
Another cause of bad breath is an oral health problem like tooth decay or gum disease like Gingivitis. When you have any of these, you know for sure that there are still bacteria present in your mouth despite brushing your teeth regularly. Again, proper oral hygiene can prevent any of these problems.
Xerostomia, dry mouth syndrome, is another oral health problem that may also be causing your bad breath. It’s a condition where you can’t produce enough saliva, so your mouth feels dry every time. Saliva is our natural mouthwash that cleans bacteria. Having xerostomia enables the bacteria to stay in your mouth for a longer time.
If you feel that you have this condition, drinking plenty of water can help prevent the dryness of your mouth. Another way to stimulate saliva is chewing sugar-free gum. On the other hand, gargling of mouthwash or even salt and water will help fight the lingering bacteria. However, it’s best to visit your dentist right away so these problems will be treated before they even get worse.
Food and Drinks
Onion, garlic, curry, and other spices are foods that leave a strong odour in your mouth and can travel all the way to your lungs, which will give you an unpleasant breath. The bad odour can last for a long time even if you rinse it with water. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks can also contribute to a bad breath. Caffeine causes a decrease in saliva production and makes your mouth dry. As mentioned before, the lesser saliva, the more bacteria will thrive in your mouth.
The best way to prevent bad breath is to stay away from meals with these foods and drinks, or at least minimize your consumption. If you can’t, then make sure to drink plenty of water and gargle minty mouthwash to help take care of the smell.
Hunger and Dieting
When you are hungry, and your body is out of glucose reserves, your liver produces the substance called ‘ketone’, which are converted into sugar to give energy to the brain and other important organs. Ketones produce a not so good smell that can be easily transferred to your breath when speaking. Practitioners of low-carb diets like Atkins, Ketogenic Diet, and South Beach diet often experience this problem.
Chewing minty gums, sucking on candies and gargling mouthwash can take off ketones scent for a while, but the more ideal solution is not to stay hungry. At least eat small meals after an hour or two. If you are on a low-carb diet, then make sure that you eat enough healthy fats to fill your stomach.
Smoking and Drinking Habits
If you are a smoker or an alcoholic, then you should know that it’s also a cause of bad breath. Cigarettes and alcoholic drinks have certain chemicals that can remain in your mouth and lungs for a long time, giving you an unpleasant breath. No type of mouthwash, gum, or candy can mask the bad smell, and they are bad for your health. So, the only way to go about this is totally avoiding these habits.
Bad breath can also be a symptom of a more serious condition in your body. Diabetes, throat infections, pneumonia, flu, sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), bronchitis, and liver diseases are just some of these medical conditions. If you think your bad breath is not because of the food you eat, drinking, smoking, dieting or poor oral hygiene, then you should have a complete check-up and consult a doctor immediately.
Knowing the causes of bad breath and how to solve them is a great life hack, along with visiting your dentist regularly. By getting professional advice, you will be able to maintain a pleasant breath and a good oral health permanently.