Whether we want to admit it or not, bad breath is something that almost everyone has experienced at one time or another. In fact, the American Dental Association has found that at least 50% of Americans have experienced bad breath. For some, bad breath can be a temporary occurrence, while for others bad breath can be a chronic condition. No matter how long your bad breath lasts, chances are that you are probably looking for a way to get rid of it.
When it comes to eliminating bad breath, it is important to first determine its cause. There are a number of factors that can cause bad breath, and some are easier to address than others. Figuring out the reason for your bad breath is the first and most important step in getting rid of bad breath for good. Here are some of the most common causes of bad breath, as well as how to address them:
Some cases of bad breath are simply caused by the foods and beverages you consume. For example, foods like garlic and onions have an oil that is absorbed by the body and passed into the lungs, where it affects the odor of one’s breath. Other foods and beverages, like coffee for example, simply have strong odors that linger for a period of time after their consumption. When bad breath is caused by diet, it is usually short term and can generally be remedied by rinsing, brushing, or using mints after eating or drinking.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Another common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene that allows excess bacteria to collect inside the mouth. To decrease bacteria populations and keep your breath smelling fresh, the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily. Unfortunately, if you rush through this routine or skip out on parts of it, then you are likely neglecting certain parts of your mouth. Over time, bacteria will accumulate in these missed areas and cause an odor. When bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene, the best way to fix it is to speak with your dentist about how to improve your daily dental routine.
If you have poor oral hygiene, then you may also have gum disease which is another common cause of bad breath. Gum disease occurs when plaque deposits filled with bacteria accumulate along the gum line and cause the gum tissue to become inflamed. Depending on how severe your case of gum disease is, your dentist may recommend special cleanings, mouthrinses, or hygiene modifications to treat the infection. Properly managing your gum disease will eventually help to reduce or eliminate bad breath.
Saliva is an important part of your mouth’s ability to keep itself clean, however people with dry mouth have a decreased ability to produce enough saliva. This ultimately means that the mouth has a harder time keeping itself clean, which means there is an increased chance of excess bacterial growth. If your bad breath is due to dry mouth, the best way to address this is to take measures to keep your mouth moist. This can mean drinking water frequently, chewing gum, or sucking on sugarless hard candies to stimulate saliva production.
Although many people assume bad breath is only associated with the mouth, there are actually a variety of medical conditions that can contribute to bad breath. For example, kidney disease, diabetes, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) can all result in chronic bad breath. Additionally, infections that affect the sinuses, nasal passages, tonsils, bronchial tubes, or upper and lower respiratory system can also lead to short term bad breath. In these cases, the best way to manage bad breath is to address the underlying medical condition responsible.
One final cause of bad breath is smoking. Smoking has a plethora of negative health effects and bad breath is just one small effect. Bad breath from smoking occurs for two reasons. The first is because of the foul odor of cigarettes and the second is due to the fact that smoking causes dry mouth. For these reasons, and many more, it is recommended to stop smoking.
Dr. Martin is a highly skilled dentist of 16 years, and a graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry. During this time, he has placed over 500 implants and maintains his skills by taking more CE courses than required by the State Board each year.