Whether you call it bad breath or halitosis, it’s an unpleasant condition that’s cause for embarrassment. Most bad breath comes from something in the mouth. Food sticks between your teeth, around the gums and on your tongue. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth every day, this food can rot. The rotten bits of food cause a bad smell in your mouth. Rotten food also helps bacteria, and gingivitis, to grow in your mouth which also causes bad breath.
The things you eat and drink affect your breath. Common examples of foods and beverages that may cause bad breath include onions, garlic, cheese, pastrami, certain spices, orange juice, soda and alcoholic beverages. Once food is digested and its oils are absorbed into the bloodstream, they’re carried into the lungs. The odor is given off in your breath. Tobacco products cause bad breath.
Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor. Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe artificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.
Bad breath may also be a sign of a health problem. Chronic lung infections, liver or kidney diseases and diabetes are some conditions that may cause bad breath. Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath this includes scheduling regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque, and floss once a day to clean between teeth. If you still have bad breath, see your family doctor.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
- Brush your teeth and tongue at least 2 times every day
- Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove food from between your teeth
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat
- Drink more water
- Avoid foods that cause you to have bad breath
- Try to avoid alcoholic beverages
- Avoid using tobacco products
- If you wear removable dentures brush and soak them overnight in a disinfecting solution
- See your dentist twice a year to have your teeth cleaned
- If you still have bad breath, see your family doctor to find out what is causing it