Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can cause a great amount of worry and embarrassment. “It (bad breath) is also very common,” says Dr. Kennelly. In fact, bad breath is estimated to affect about 1 in 4 people globally. However, it is relatively easy to resolve. Keep in mind that the main cause for halitosis is generally bad oral hygiene. Certain foods, health conditions and habits are also among the causes of bad breath. In many cases, you should be able to improve bad breath with consistent proper dental hygiene. And if in the case simple self-care techniques don’t solve the problem, it is recommended that you see your dentist or physician to be sure a more serious condition isn’t causing your bad breath.
So what causes bad breath?
There are so many different factors that can cause one to have bad breath. Seeing as bad breath starts in your mouth here are a couple of different causes:
- Food. When you eat food, the break down of the particles in it can increase the bacteria in your mouth and can cause a foul odor. And it does not just stop there, certain foods such as spices, garlic, and onions also cause bad breath, because once digested, these foods enter your bloodstream and are then carried to your lungs and affect your breath.
- Poor Dental Hygiene. Failing to brush and floss your teeth daily can cause particles of food to sit in your mouth, causing bad breath. When enough particles build up, they form something called plaque . If you are not constantly brushing your teeth and brushing away the plaque it can eventually cause gingivitis.
- Dry Mouth. You’ve probably heard the joke about morning breath being the worst breath. This is because saliva helps cleanse your mouth getting rid of the particles that cause foul odors. And when you sleep and leave your mouth open, the amount of saliva is decreased, causing bad breath.
- Drugs. Surprisingly enough taking certain medicines can cause one to have foul breath. Sometimes the side effects of certain medications can decrease saliva, in turn increasing odors. And other drugs can produce odors as they release chemicals in your breath while breaking down. For example antihistamines which are taken to treat allergies and diuretics, can cause dry mouth which can cause bad breath. Also, individuals who take vitamin supplements in large doses can also be prone to bad breath.
Smoking/tobacco use. Smoking has its own distinctive unpleasant odor that it causes. And generally people who smoke or use oral tobacco are more likely to have a type of gum disease which also is another source of bad breath.
How can I treat bad breath?
As far as home remedies go, there are many things you should try on your own first that should help solve the problem but if you need to come into our dental office in Centennial, CO, feel free!
Home remedies include:
- Brushing your teeth. You should be brushing your teeth after least twice a day. If possible, it is even better if you can brush them after every meal you have. Make sure that if you are suffering from bad breath that you really make a conscious effort to pay attention to how many times your brush and how well you brush your teeth cause this can play a big part in resolving that issue.
- Floss. Because brushing only cleans about 60 percent of the surface of your teeth, it is important that you floss because that will help reduce plaque build up that is going on around and between your teeth.
- Brush your tongue. When your brush your teeth you should always make sure that your brush your tongue as well. It is common for bacteria, dead cells, and food to collect and build up on your tongue, especially with those who suffer from dry mouth and smokers.
- Watch what you eat. When you are constantly eating spicy foods or onions and garlic bad breath will be inevitable until those foods are out of your system. Steering clear of foods like that as well as reducing your alcohol and coffee consumption can help avoid bad breath.
- Avoid dry mouth. By staying hydrated you are greatly reducing the risk of drying your mouth out. Even sucking on something sweet or chewing gum can help produce saliva so that your mouth is not dry. Also avoid tobacco and alcohol as both will dehydrate the mouth. If necessary, there are medications that a doctor can prescribe to help if your mouth is chronically dry.
Eat something healthy. Snacks of crispy, fresh fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, or a stick of celery can help with bad breath. They step up your saliva flow between meals to help wash away bacteria from teeth, tongue and gums that can cause bad breath. Snacks like these can also help alleviate bad breath caused by hunger or fasting. Keep in mind, an empty stomach from skipping meals can cause foul breath as acids in the stomach build up.