If you have bad breath, it can be pretty easy to tell. Many people with halitosis find that co-workers and even family members tend to keep their distance when they talk to them, and it can definitely be hard to book a second date when you have vicious oral odor. Often, the cause of bad breath is clear, such as onions, garlic or other strong-smelling foods, but sometimes the source of your halitosis is a little more elusive.
Recently, WorlDental.org published an article discussing some of the common and not-so-common causes of oral odor, and suggestions for how to eliminate bad breath.
Other than food, the main cause of bad breath is poor oral care and general lifestyle habits. According to the news source, in more than 80 percent of cases halitosis is caused by dental health problems. These can be as simple as not brushing and flossing properly, or as complex as gum disease or cracked fillings. This is why chronic bad breath deserves the attention of a dentist.
Lifestyle habits such as smoking and coffee drinking also contribute to bad breath. Coffee can leave deposits on the back of the tongue, which is a place that is particularly hard to reach with a toothbrush. This is why it's important to use a specialty tongue scraper for leftover coffee bits and food particles.
Some surprising causes
Do you use an alcohol-based mouthwash? If so, that may actually be what's causing your halitosis.
"Use a mouthwash which does not contain alcohol and see if the situation changes. Mouthwashes containing alcohol usually dry the mouth excessively, and as you might know, the dry mouth syndrome can easily bring about the bad breath complication." according to the news source.
Also, while low-carb diets may be all the rage, they can cause halitosis. According to MSN Health and Fitness, the body normally burns carbohydrates to create fuel. Without carbs, the body turns to stored fats which may lead to a condition called ketosis, where ketones build up in the body. Some of these ketones are released through the breath and do not smell good.
Halitosis can also be a sign of a serious illness. According to MSN, the most common diseases that cause bad breath are gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and diabetes. GERD is when there is a buildup of acid in the esophagus and stomach, which can lead to bad breath. Diabetes, similar to a low-carb diet, can cause ketosis.
Less common possibilities are liver and kidney disease, which can cause bad breath when toxins are released from the organs. This is why it's important to see not only a dentist, but a doctor as well if you have health problems and find that bad breath is mysteriously persistent.
What can you do?
There are many ways to get rid of bad breath. First, try using an alcohol free mouthwash and taking better care of your teeth. Sometimes, simply re-committing to brushing, flossing and using mouthwash every day can make all the difference. Next, change your diet to see if cutting out coffee, onions, garlic and dairy leaves you with fresher breath.
Finally, talk to your doctor and ask if dry mouth is a symptom of any medications you may be on. Often, prescriptions can cause the mouth to dry out and halitosis to occur, and your doctor may be able to put you on a different drug that will not have this side effect.