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Reasons Behind Bad Breath

May 15, 2023

A woman covering her mouth.

Have you ever entered an elevator and been overwhelmed by someone's breath, making you want to run away immediately? Bad breath is a common condition that can affect everyone; however, persistent instances may signal something more serious. In this blog post, we will explore reasons behind bad breath as well as potential solutions.

Bad breath can arise for various reasons, including oral health problems or a poor diet. Poor dental hygiene is one of the primary contributors to bad breath; when we don't brush and floss our teeth on a regular basis, food particles become lodged between our teeth, creating bacteria growth that produces sulfur compounds, resulting in unpleasant breath odors coming from our mouths.

Gum disease or periodontal disease is another source of bad breath, often with no visible symptoms. When gums become infected by bacteria due to plaque buildup, this can eventually lead to tooth decay and loss if left untreated, leaving persistent bad breath even with brushing or using mouthwash.

Cracked mouth, more commonly referred to as β€œxerostomia,” can also contribute to bad breath. Saliva usually helps clean out food debris and other particles from our mouths, while dry mouth leads to bacteria growth leading to foul smelling breath. Many factors contribute to dry mouth, including certain medications, diseases, and radiation therapy treatments.

Bad breath may also result from eating poorly. Sugary food and beverages provide the ideal environment for bacteria to flourish; similarly, eating high protein diets like meat, dairy, and fish releases amino acids that cause bad breath.

How can bad breath be treated? Good dental hygiene is the easiest way to combat bad breath. Brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly along with using a mouthwash can remove debris and bacteria from the mouth and leave breath fresher for longer. If gum disease is the culprit behind poor breath quality, then consulting with a dentist or periodontist is necessary; they may provide necessary treatment or referral services as required.

Dry mouth can be alleviated by drinking sufficient amounts of water daily, chewing sugar-free gum containing xylitol or eating hard candies containing xylitol, using a humidifier, and taking medication as directed by your physician, if applicable. A humidifier will add moisture back into the air. For medication-induced dry mouth, consult with a healthcare provider, as there may be alternatives available that could alleviate it further.

Reduce sugar intake to reduce the chance of bacteria growing in your mouth, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and wash away bacteria from your system.

As soon as a problem of bad breath persists, it's vital that you consult a dentist immediately. A foul smell could be indicative of acid reflux disease, diabetes, or liver or kidney issues, which need medical intervention.

Bad breath can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but there are ways to combat or avoid it. Good oral hygiene practices, regular dental checkups, and a healthy diet can all play an integral part in combatting this issue. Persistent bad breath could indicate more serious medical concerns; for this reason, it is recommended that any persistent cases should be seen by a doctor immediately. Remember, improving your oral health has far-reaching benefits on your overall wellness!