Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can originate both inside and outside of the mouth. Bad breath is typically caused by bacteria present on the teeth and debris on the tongue. So it’s no surprise that most cases of halitosis are associated with poor oral hygiene, gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, and dry mouth, a condition in which the salivary glands cannot make enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. A visit with a dentist may help rule out periodontal disease and identify any mouth problem that could be contributing to bad breath.
Tonsillitis, respiratory infections such as sinusitis or bronchitis, and some gastrointestinal diseases may be responsible for a small number of cases of bad breath. Advanced liver or kidney disease and uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to unpleasant breath. In these cases, a person is likely to experience significant symptoms beyond bad breath, and should seek medical attention.
How Does Food Affect Breath?
Basically, all the food eaten begins to be broken down in your mouth. Also, foods are absorbed into your bloodstream and move to the lungs, affecting the air you exhale. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing — even mouthwash — merely cover up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body. Other common foods that can cause bad breath include:
- Certain spices
- Orange juice or soda
Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
To keep your breath fresh, you must get rid of any gum disease, and keep your mouth clean and fresh. If you do have bad breath, try keeping a diary of all the foods you eat and list any medicines you are taking. Take this diary to your dentist, who may be able to suggest ways to solve the problem.
•Brush your teeth and gums last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
•Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well, or use a tongue scraper
•Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.
•Clean in between your teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes or floss at least once a day
•Use a mouthwash – some contain antibacterial agents that could kill bacteria that make your breath smell unpleasant.
If you continue to suffer from bad breath visit your dental team to make sure that the mouthwash is not covering up a more serious underlying problem. Chew sugar-free gum – it helps your mouth produce saliva and stops it drying out. A dry mouth can lead to bad breath.
At Amrita Medical Center, our staff is happy to answer any of your questions and help you decide the right fit for you. We even offer same day appointments for your convenience. Contact us here!