Bad breath is embarrassing, which is why many people use gum, mints, mouthwashes, and other products to fight bad breath. But many of these products are only temporary measures because they do not address the cause of the problem.
Some foods and habits cause bad breath.
You can improve bad breath by maintaining proper dental hygiene, but if the condition persists, it is best to consult a dentist to make sure there is no more serious condition that causes bad breath.
Bad breath odors vary depending on the source or the underlying cause. If you suffer from bad breath, we recommend that you try to make lifestyle changes, such as brushing your teeth and tongue after eating, using dental floss, and drinking plenty of water. If bad breath persists after making these changes, see your dentist.
There are many possible causes of bad breath. They include the following:
Breaking down food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause an unpleasant odor. Also, eating certain foods such as onions, garlic and spices can cause bad breath. After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, travel to your lungs and affect your breath.
Smoking causes bad breath. Smokers are more likely to develop gum disease, which is another source of bad breath.
Not using the brush and floss daily leads to the accumulation of food particles in the mouth, which causes bad breath. A colorless, sticky layer of bacteria (plaque) forms on the teeth. If not cleaned, plaque can irritate the gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums and cause periodontitis. Your tongue can also trap the bacteria that produce odors. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly can contain a buildup of bacteria and food particles that cause odors.
Saliva helps clean the mouth and remove particles that cause bad odors, so a condition called dry mouth can contribute to bad breath due to decreased saliva production. Dry mouth occurs naturally during sleep, leading to morning breath, and is worse when sleeping with the mouth open. Chronic dry mouth can be caused by a problem with the salivary glands and some diseases.
Some medications can cause bad breath indirectly by contributing to a dry mouth. Others can break down in the body to release chemicals that are transported in the breath.
Infections in the mouth or nose
Bad breath can be caused by wounds in the mouth, after tooth removal, as a result of tooth decay, gum disease, mouth ulcers, or by other mouth, nose and throat diseases. Bad breath can sometimes be caused by small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce the odor. Infection or chronic infections in the nose, sinuses, or throat, which can also cause bad breath.
Diseases, such as some types of cancer, and conditions such as metabolic disorders, can cause unpleasant breath odor due to the chemicals they produce. Chronic acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, can be associated with bad breath.