Bad breath is medically known as halitosis, no body likes it, because it can be so embarrassing and may even cause anxiety. Bad breath is a medical condition that develops mostly as a result of poor oral health habits. In some cases this health problem may be a sign of other serious health problems. It can worsen overtime due to unhealthy oral habits and even by the type of foods that you eat.
However, there are different types of bad breath, the odors vary depending on the source or the underlying cause. Most people out there have bad breath without knowing. People around you might be afraid to tell you, but just know that chronic bad breath even after brushing is never a good thing.
Symptoms of bad breath
Just like I said earlier, bad breath vary depending on the underlying cause. It might be difficult to tell if you have bad breath on your own. Everybody has bad breath at some point, especially when you wake up in the morning.
Bad breath is mostly caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth. If these bacteria are allowed to stay longer in the mouth, their activities in the mouth gives off odors or gases that smells badly. If you are not so sure if your breath is bad, the easiest way to find out is to ask your close friend or relative to check your breath.
The most common symptom of bad breath is strong offensive odor from the mouth, even after brushing or flossing. Another simple way to know if your breath is bad, is to look at and smell your dental floss after flossing. You can try this step at anytime of the day, if your floss smells badly or if there is blood in it, then it’s a sign of bad breath. As we move further into this article, I will reveal to you some of the possible causes of chronic bad breath even after brushing. You will also get to know those health problems that are associated with bad breath.
Causes of bad breath
There are numerous factors that can result to bad breath. This health problem is often caused by oral problems, other bad breath causes are associated with other internal health problems. Here are some of the oral issues and medical condition that can affect your breath:
1. Poor oral hygiene: when you don’t brush or floss daily, you can have bad breath. According to studies, 90% of bad breath comes from breaking down of food in the mouth. (1) When you don’t remove food particles properly from your mouth and between your teeth, they can form plaque which attracts lots of harmful bacteria to your mouth.
Dental plaque are sticky films, they can form on the surface of your teeth and in the pockets between your teeth and gums. When food particles remain in your mouth, bacteria from plaque breaks them down causing bad breath. Sticky foods especially sugary and starchy ones can harbor odor-causing bacteria when they are left in the mouth.
2. Gum disease: excessive buildup of bacteria on the teeth and along the gum lines can lead to gum disease. Large accumulation of bacteria on the teeth, leads to the production of harmful toxins which irritates the gums.
Gum disease is a serious progressive oral problem. It continues to grow larger, damaging the gums and jawbones if it is left untreated.
Persistent bad breath, gums bleeding after flossing or brushing and also bad taste in the mouth are all signs of periodontal (gum) disease. (2) If you have bad breath and also experience frequent gums bleeding when you brush or floss, the best thing to do is to go for oral tests, your problem might be from your gums.
3. Dry mouth (Xerostomia) : dry mouth is a health condition when the salivary glands can not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moisturized. Naturally, the human saliva has a strong cleansing and antibacterial properties that keeps the mouth clean and free from infections. Saliva helps to maintain a healthy pH level of the mouth by neutralizing the acids produced by bacteria, making the mouth unsuitable for harmful bacteria.
Normal flow of saliva keeps the mouth clean by removing particles that cause bad odors such as food particles and dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. Decrease in the production of saliva in the mouth can lead to accumulation and decomposition of these particles in the mouth which results to bad breath.
However, morning bad breath occurs naturally due to dry mouth during sleep, it can worsen if you sleep with your mouth open. Continuous breathing through your mouth, certain medications and disease can contribute to dysfunction of the salivary gland. A failure in the production of the required amount of saliva in the mouth can lead to chronic bad breath even after brushing and flossing. If you are suffering from dry mouth, i have an article on natural remedies for dry mouth.
4. What you eat: there are lots of foods out there that can cause bed breath when you eat them. There is a popular saying in health care, it says “What you eat affects what you exhale”. During digestion, foods with strong odors are equally digested, the odors can be absorbed into your bloodstream and then expelled through your lungs when you breathe. Too much consumption of certain foods such as onions, garlic and spices can cause bad breath.
According to studies, chronic consumption of raw garlic or onions does not only cause chronic bad breath, they can also lead to body odor. If you suspect that your bad breath may be caused by the type of foods that you eat. Try to avoid foods that encourage bad breath, you can consider snacking on healthy foods that promotes salivary flow and fresh breath.
5. Oral infections: bad breath can be caused by infected oral wounds. In some cases, mouth ulcers, sores, poorly fitting dental appliances and dental caries (cavities) can lead to infections. Most people have oral infection from surgical wounds after oral surgery. Tooth removal surgery as a result of tooth decay or gum disease can contribute to bad breath.
Other health problems such as diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, bronchitis and chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal) can all result to bad breath.
How to fix bad breath
If you go to the market you will see lots of gum, mints, toothpastes mouthwashes and many other oral care products designed to fight bad breath. But the truth is that most of these products can only hold off the bad odors temporary. They don’t seem to address the real cause of the problem.
The first step you should take to fix bad breath is to identify the underlying cause first. Identifying the real cause of the problem can help you to know the best suitable action to take. You can visit your dentist for proper oral evaluation, in order to find the cause of the odor.
Personally you have to review your oral hygiene habits, try to practice good oral hygiene. Try making some lifestyle changes, such as staying hydrated always, brushing your teeth and tongue after eating. Cut back on alcohol, smoking and other tobacco products, if possible consider switching coffee to green tea. Excessive consumption of beer, wine, hard liquor and other things such as cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can affect your breath.
However, If your bad breath persists after making such changes as I mentioned above, then you will need to see your dentist. If it turns out that your mouth is healthy that the odor is not from your mouth, you may be referred to doctor for proper body check and treatment.