So you've got bad breath, have you? Do you know what did it? If you're like millions of Americans, chances are you don't know many causes of halitosis. After all, oral odor can originate in so many different oral and nasal problems. Sometimes, it's tough to know how the heck your halitosis happened.
Fortunately, no matter what the genesis of your bad breath, specialty breath freshening products - be they toothpastes, tongue scrapers or K12 probiotics - can neutralize odor and make oral bacteria run for the hills.
Microbes are, in fact, one of the primary causes of halitosis, though they are not the only one. If you're interested in figuring out what keeps giving you bad breath, here is a compendious, but by no means complete, list of the things that lead to halitosis. See how many you knew!
- Bacteria. The microorganisms that live in your mouth are the movers and shakers of oral odor. Many of the so-called causes of halitosis are merely things that feed the microbes in your mouth. It can be tempting to try to rinse away these creatures with an alcohol-based mouthwash, but don't fall for that old marketing trick. Alcohol can irritate your palate or, even worse, lead to...
- Dry mouth. Having a parched palate allows oral bacteria to multiply rapidly. They give off smelly, sulfur-based compounds that give halitosis its scent. This is why morning breath smells so disgusting. If you sleep with your mouth open, you're giving microbes hours on end in which to pump out foul smells. Other things can dry out your mouth too, like smoking, anxiety, vigorous exercise or even a lengthy conversation. Consider rinsing with a mouth-moistening, alcohol-free mouthwash.
- Smelly foods and beverages. No surprise here. One of the most maligned causes of halitosis, pungent comestibles - such as garlic, onions, spices, fatty meats, asparagus, coffee or alcohol - can leave odor compounds on your tongue, making your breath reek.
-Smoking. Tobacco use exposes your palate to hundreds of harmful chemicals, many of which escape on your exhaled breath.
- Tonsil stones. These small, whitish lumps can be found lodged in the folds of your tonsils. They consists of layer upon layer of bacteria, food particles, proteins and dead cells. And be warned: they smell truly awful. If you happen to cough one up, try not to pick it up with your bare hands, as it can make your fingers smell for days.
- Tooth decay. Dental rot can leave a long-lasting smell in your mouth. Consider upgrading your brushing routine with a specialty breath freshening toothpaste and rinse combo.