Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a condition characterized by unpleasant odor coming from the mouth. Although almost everyone has suffered from this condition at some point in his/her life, some cases of halitosis are as a result of an underlying condition.
Some cases of bad breath fade away within an hour or a day, while others linger on for much longer. Many people choose to seek professional dental care/attention if the condition lingers on for more than a few days and for good reason.
Understanding the factors that lead to halitosis may, however, help you manage/prevent the condition on time. Here are some of the known causes of bad breath and how to deal with the same.
1. Eating flavorful foods and drinks
Some foods and spices are known to produce a pungent smell once consumed. These include celery, garlic, onions, and even coffee, among others. Feasting on your favorite vegetable salad with any of these veggies, and especially onions, will most likely taint your breath.
The presence of sulfur in onions and garlic is almost always responsible for bad breath. Brushing your teeth or chewing mint should, however, eliminate the foul smell for good.
Alcohol is a common culprit for bad breath. Alcohol triggers decreased production of saliva, creating just the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. It is for this reason many people will wake up with a nasty headache and bad breath in the morning after a drinking spree.
Drinking plenty of water before going to bed/after drinking and avoiding limiting your alcohol intake might, however, help prevent the condition.
3. A Dry Mouth
One of the functions of saliva is to keep the mouth and especially the gums well moisturized and hydrated. Saliva also helps rinse the mouth of food particles, thus containing oral bacterial growth.
Dehydration will affect the rate at which saliva is produced, hence cause harmful bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. Drinking lots of water or sipping small amounts of water throughout the day can help prevent possible halitosis.
4. Gum Disease
If bad breath won’t simply go away and have a constant bad taste, then chances are you have advanced gum disease or infection. This is commonly characterized by a sticky layer on and around your teeth and gums. This might be as a result of a plague.
If you have a sticky mouth and have bad breath, then the next best step would be to seek a dentist’s attention. The dentist will run several tests to determine the cause and recommend medication for the same.
Smoking is one of the most common causes of bad breath. Most smokers will not only have the smell of tobacco hanging around them but also have a nasty breath. This is because tobacco and compounds in it irritate gum tissues causing bad breath.
Most smokers will, however, not detect the condition unless told by someone that doesn’t smoke. The only way out of this is by either quitting the cigarette or have menthol chewing gum ready each time you smoke.
6. An Underlying Medical Condition
If you are always cautious about your oral health, brush, and floss every day, and do not have a gum infection, then this could be a sign and symptom of a much bigger problem.
Some of the conditions with such symptoms include gastric reflux, diabetes, sinus condition, kidney, and liver disease, among others. Your dentist will refer you to a professional healthcare provider to help diagnose and run tests for the same.
7. Poor Oral Health
Poor dental care is another common cause of foul smell in many people today. With many people feasting on processed and carbohydrate-laden foods, the risk of halitosis is particularly high. Going for days without brushing or even flossing will make the condition even worse.
Plague buildup will also make it hard to contain the condition, among other risks. Choosing to practice proper oral hygiene can, however, turn things around, hence fresh breath.
Hormonal changes, dehydration, and having different foods (from pregnancy cravings) can contribute to bad breath as well. While the pregnancy itself may not cause bad breath, symptoms of the same, such as morning sickness and nausea, are known to cause halitosis.
These are but a few of the numerous causes of bad breath today. Following proper oral hygiene and seeing a dentist at least twice per year can help prevent this condition.