Causes and Treatments of Bad Breath
The ADA said that roughly half of adults have had bad breath at some point in their lives. Medically, it’s called halitosis, a multifactorial diagnosis, caused by a wide range of issues. If you rule out untreated cavities and gum disease, you’ll have left the top reasons for bad breath.
Poor oral hygiene. Undigested food left hanging around teeth or on the tongue gets broken down by bacteria, leaving that foul odor. Proper technique and frequency of brushing and flossing can eliminate the smell.
Dehydrated mouth. Decreased saliva production creates a dryer mouth where bacteria can feed on plaque and tartar resulting in bad breath.
For example, a low-carb diet forces the body to go into a state of ketosis, where acetone builds up and renders breath smelling fruity. Many prescription drugs can cause dry mouth as a side effect. Coffee can also dehydrate. Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated is important on top of good oral hygiene. OTC moisturizing gels, rinses, or sprays can also boost salivary flow, as well as chewing sugar-free lozenges.
Sticky sweets and desserts. They settle into the deep grooves of the teeth and provide ‘food’ for bacteria.” The more bacteria that’s present, the worse your breath will be. Limiting your sugar and brushing well can prevent bad breath.
Diabetes. Diabetics tend to have dryer mouths and are prone to foul breath. They may also have gum issues that heal poorly. It’s important to keep their sugar levels under control and be under the care of a periodontist to help maintain bone and gum tissue health.
Acid reflux or GERD. They cause stomach contents to regurgitate into the mouth; their acidity can cause the mouth to become super-dry and bacteria to multiply and cause foul breath. It can also thin enamel making them more prone to decay.
Alcoholism. Too much drinking can dehydrate contributing to poor salivary flow and excess plaque, triggering bad breath. Limit yourself to one to two drinks per occasion, and drink water with every cocktail to decrease the potential for alcohol-related dehydration.
Presence of illness. A cold or a sinus infection compels you to breathe through the mouth and mouth-breathing dries it out and causes less saliva flow. Ironically, some cold and sinus medications cause dry mouth as a side effect. Using nasal decongestant spray can alleviate stuffy nose and increasing your water intake can also help restore nasal breathing by re-hydrating the mouth. Snoring also causes mouth-breathing. See your dentist or an ENT specialist to get to the root cause of the issue.
Smoking. This habit generates heat in the mouth, dries it out and encourages bacteria growth. This can make you more susceptible to gum disease and cavities. Smoking cessation is key to your long-term oral health.
Skipping meals. Smells or thoughts of food trigger salivation. So missing meals can cause the salivary glands to slow down saliva production leading to a dry mouth and bad breath. Have regular meals and stay hydrated. Hydrate also if you are into intermittent fasting to help remove the sensation of bad breath.
Inflamed tonsils or tonsillitis. It can also cause bad breath. The larger the tonsils the more they hold food particles when you swallow, getting stuck on the tonsils’ irregular surface. Gargle and use a mouth rinse such as a salt water rinse. Your dentist can give prescription-grade products to help control bad breath caused by inflamed tonsils.
Tetrick Family Dentistry in Bellingham
If you think your breath has become foul and you’re not sure how you got it, come and see Dr. Tetrick in Bellingham.