Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common struggle amongst adults. For some, bad breath might be a symptom of a major dental condition. Most cases of bad breath, on the other hand, simply result in shame or embarrassment – especially when noticed on a first date or a job interview.
Halitosis, the Latin term for “bad breath,” can be caused by food and drink, oral health issues, or smoking. Perhaps a simple lifestyle change is enough to serve as a bad breath cure.
Compiled below is a list of reasons for bad breath. Whether the simple fix might be quitting that smoking habit or less coffee in the morning, it is crucial to consult with a dentist regarding any concerns with your oral health.
Poor Dental Hygiene
Ignorance of everyday dental hygiene efforts is the most common cause of bad breath. Without daily brushing and flossing, plaque will build up on the teeth and food particles may remain in the mouth after eating.
A dirty mouth is the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish. Bacteria found in plaque can actually feed on leftover food particles, ensuring that brushing and flossing are necessary to prevent bad breath.
Low Saliva Production
Saliva is an essential tool in keeping the mouth clean. It functions to remove left over particles from food and bacteria.
Known as xerostomia, a lack of saliva production is a probable reason for bad breath. Low saliva production occurs naturally during sleep, which is why we tend to have worse breath when we wake up before brushing.
Food & Drink
Whether it’s a garlicky meal, a freshly brewed cup of coffee, or an alcoholic beverage, food and drink contribute to reasons for bad breath.
Particles from flavorful foods, such as onions, garlic, and horseradish, enter into the bloodstream after consumption. As a result of this process, some of this blood is transported to the lungs, and each exhale includes some of those smelly food particles.
Coffee and alcohol are another likely culprit of bad breath. As a result, the more coffee or alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to have bad breath. This is because intense flavors can linger in the mouth. In addition, both beverages decrease the production of saliva in the mouth.
Bacteria thrive in dry mouths, so think twice before grabbing another cup of coffee or glass of wine.
Whether in the form of a cigarette, chew, or a vape, tobacco products cause bad breath due to the flavors itself, and the fact that tobacco damages gum tissue. Tobacco is likely to limit saliva production as well, which will result in bad breath.
Prescription medications come with a variety of negative side effects. One frequent side effect of medication is dry mouth, which, as noted above, will negatively impact bacteria in the mouth.
Another reason why prescription medications may be a reason for bad breath is because once consumed, they emit chemicals throughout the bloodstream similar to how food particles are carried through the blood into the lungs. In turn, odorous chemicals might be released through each exhale, resulting in bad breath.
How to Prevent Halitosis (Bad Breath)
- Brush your teeth twice a day minimum of 2 minutes
- Floss daily
- Kill bacteria with over-the-counter mouthwashes in addition to brushing and flossing
- Stay hydrated and eat healthy fruits and vegetables to increase saliva production
- Quit using tobacco products
- Visit your dentist regularly
Maxus Dental advises our patients to consider any harmful habits, cravings, or activities that might be causing bad breath. Above all else, stay on top of brushing and flossing on a daily basis to eliminate odor-causing bacteria.