Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is estimated to affect 25-50% of the population. Bad breath is one of the top reasons why people visit the dentist. It’s no surprise why – bad breath affects the sufferer and the people around them. Read below to find out what causes bad breath and how to treat it.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are many factors that contribute to bad breath.
Food: Food with strong odor remains on your breath until the food has passed through your body completely. Brushing and mouthwash only covers the smell temporarily.
Poor Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing removes food particles that help bacteria grow in your mouth and cause bad breath. Additionally, regular brushing removes plaque. Plaque eventually builds up and causes gum disease, which also contributes to bad breath. Finally, brushing helps your tongue, which can trap odor-causing bacteria. In summation, poor oral hygiene allows food particles and bacteria to build up and contribute to stinky breath.
Medicine: Some medications have side effects like dry mouth, which increases the likelihood of bad breath. Other medications release chemicals that cause bad mouth odor.
Mouth Breathing: If you breathe through your mouth or snore at night, you are raising the likelihood of bad breath. Mouth breathing at night raises the level of acidity in the mouth and therefore enamel breaks down. When enamel breaks down, it’s easier for gum disease to develop, again contributing to bad breath. In addition, mouth breathing can cause dry mouth. Saliva is important to regulate mouth bacteria and prevent bad odors.
Tobacco: Tobacco products have an unpleasant smell, and contribute to dry mouth, and gum disease. Both of these cause bad breath, in addition to tobacco odor. In addition, cigarettes have many other chemicals in them that linger in the body and cause bad odor.
Dentures: If you have dentures that are not regularly cleaned, they will begin to smell foul. In addition, if your dentures fit improperly, food particles can get stuck and cause bad breath.
Treatment of bad breath ranges from a variety of options. Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent and treat bad breath. This includes daily brushing (2-3 times), daily flossing, and regular use of antiseptic mouthwash. Consistent visits to the dentist will also benefit your oral health. Professional cleanings are important to overall oral health and preventing bad breath. Also, dentists can detect issues like gum disease and dry mouth.
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, you should drink plenty of water and avoid foods that may trigger bad breath. Finally, try chewing gum with xylitol to help remove food particles and bacteria.