Bad breath happens, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives. There are several causes of bad breath. While many causes are harmless, some can sometimes be a sign of something more serious.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are several reasons you might get bad breath:
Bacteria: Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally live in your mouth. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leave a foul-smelling waste product behind.
Dry Mouth: Your mouth might not be making enough saliva. Saliva is important because it works around the clock to wash out your mouth. If you don’t have enough, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be.
Gum Disease: Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by plaque.
Medical Conditions: If your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another problem. In this case, see your healthcare provider.
Food: The list of breath-offending foods is long, and what you eat affects the air you exhale. Try to avoid foods such as garlic, onions, and coffee.
Smoking and Tobacco: Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath, and puts you at risk for a host of health problems. Tobacco users are also more likely to suffer from gum disease. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how their breath smells.
How Can I Keep Bad Breath Away?
- Brush and Floss twice a day. Clean between your teeth daily with floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.
- Use Mouthwash. Mouthwashes can help kill bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. It’s only a temporary solution, however. The longer you wait to brush and floss away food in your mouth, the more likely your breath will offend.
- Keep Saliva Flowing. To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies.
- Quit Smoking. Not only will you have better breath, you’ll have a better quality of life.
It’s important to stress that homecare tips do not replace regular professional dental visits and cleanings. If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your dentist determines your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor.