Bad breath is one of those embarrassing issues people try to avoid talking about, and if you think you are suffering from bad breath, or to give it its proper name, halitosis, then you’ll probably need to ask good friend or family member to tell you the horrid truth. But what causes this common condition?
- Bad breath is caused by bacteria building up in your mouth, and this can create areas of inflammation and infection, and the bacteria can give off noxious gases. These gases can frequently smell sulphurous, or even worse.
- It is estimated around 80% of bad breath is caused by some kind of disease or inflammation in the oral cavity. For instance, if you suffer from gum disease then bad breath is often one of the symptoms. Similarly dental decay and cavities can create bad breath as these conditions are created by bacteria attacking the surface of the teeth.
- If you fail to brush or floss thoroughly, then particles of food can become trapped in between your teeth, and they’ll gradually rot and will begin to emit foul smells.
- Failing to clean a denture properly can also result in bad breath, as it will be covered in particles of old and rotting food as well as plaque bacteria.
Bad breath can also be caused by certain medical conditions, including diabetes, bronchitis, respiratory tract infections as well as acid reflux. It’s essential to see your dentist to have the cause of your bad breath correctly diagnosed, as if they cannot find the reason you may need to see your physician. If there is no medical reason, then there are certain things you can do to help to lessen bad breath, and which may help you avoid developing halitosis in the first place.
Good oral hygiene is essential for great breath
Good oral hygiene is the key to having sweet breath, and you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once-a-day. It’s essential to brush for at least 2 minutes each time, and to cover all the tooth surfaces. It can help to use mouthwash, but it’s best to choose one which contains antibacterial agents designed to help fight bad breath rather than one designed merely to freshen breath. Gently brushing your tongue or using a specially designed tongue scraper will help remove even more bacteria.
It is also essential to see your dentist at regular intervals, preferably every six months. Your dentist will be able to check your oral hygiene is up to scratch and you aren’t missing any areas when brushing and flossing. Professional dental cleaning will help remove all the calculus which can build up on teeth, and this should help give you better breath.
Pay attention to your diet
Your diet definitely has an effect on your breath, and if you are fond of spicy foods and garlic and onions, then you may need to cut back a little. This is because food is gradually absorbed into the bloodstream before being expelled through the lungs as you breathe. If you’re on a diet and then you may suffer from bad breath, especially if it’s low in carbohydrates or calories.
Healthy habits for sweeter breath
Choosing a healthy, balanced diet will help sweeten your breath, as will snacking on watery fruits and vegetables such as celery, raw carrots or apples. It can help to drink a lot of water, especially after you have eaten, as this will help wash away harmful bacteria and food debris. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, then try to cut down a little, or switch to healthier alternatives such as green or herbal tea.
Smoking is a classic reason for bad breath, and of course there are numerous other health reasons for quitting this habit. Alcohol can also give you bad breath, as it gradually dehydrates you leading to a dry mouth.
If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, then chewing sugar free gum can help. This is because it stimulates the flow of saliva, helping to wash away excess bacteria and food debris. If you choose a gum which contains xylitol then it can help to prevent cavities as it fights plaque bacteria.