Bad breath, or also known as halitosis, is an embarrassing condition characterized by unpleasant odor coming from the mouth. The unpleasant odor occurs because of odor-producing bacteria grow in the mouth. When you don’t brush your teeth regularly, this bacteria builds up on your teeth and break down proteins, producing foul-smelling sulfur compounds which cause the unpleasant smell on your mouth.
Bad breath can affect anyone of any age. Almost everyone would have short periods of bad breath at some point in their lives, and it is estimated that up to 50% of people have persistent bad breath.
What Causes Bad breath?
There are several causes of bad breath:
- Poor oral hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath. If you don’t brush your teeth regularly, any food particles that is trapped between your teeth will be broken down by bacteria, causing bad breath. These bacteria can also live on the rough surface of the tongue.
Brush your teeth as well as your tongue at least twice a day to remove food residue in the mouth.
- The foods we eat
Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, that contain pungent oils, can lead to bad breath because the oils are carried to the lungs and come out through your mouth. Certain spices can also cause bad breath when the foods are absorbed into the bloodstream after digestion. When the blood has been transferred to the lungs, the smell of food is evident when you exhale.
- Dry mouth
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a medical condition characterized by a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and prevent cavities. If you are experiencing dry mouth, bad breath may occur because the food particles remain trapped in the mouth and cause the unpleasant smell when you exhale. Dry mouth can be caused by mouth breathing or salivary gland problems. Saliva neutralize acids produced by plaque and it also get rid the bacteria that accumulate in the mouth. Without the production of saliva, these bacteria decompose and cause bad breath. Other medical conditions that can cause bad breath include bronchitis, diabetes, sinusitis, gastritis, and liver or kidney problems.
To prevent dry mouth, drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. Also, avoid caffeine drinks, such as coffee, tea, and sodas, as they can dry out your mouth.
Smoking is one of the major cause of bad breath. This stops the saliva from cleansing your mouth, causing the growth of some bacteria in your mouth, which then leads to unpleasant odor on your breath. Smoking also increases your risk of gum disease, another cause of bad breath.
Stop smoking is the best ways to prevent bad breath and reduce the risk of gum disease. Learn more about how to quit smoking.