Bad breath isn’t just an embarrassing inconvenience to whoever is unfortunate enough to have it. This affliction can also be an indication of health issues that should be taken care of immediately.
If you or someone you love suffers from bad breath, here are some possible reasons for it, as well as a variety of helpful cures that can vanquish it and may be used as bad breath remedies.
What is Bad Breath?
Bad breath is the presence of a foul-smelling odor that seems to originate from the mouth cavity. Medical terms for bad breath include halitosis, stomatodysodia, fetor oris, and ozostomia.
Halitosis is quite common in human beings and animals, and many people do not know they suffer from it unless someone else tells them. It is estimated that at least half of all human beings will experience some sort of bad breath during their lifetime.
Causes & Symptoms
There are numerous issues that can cause bad breath. Luckily, many of them are solved easily.
One possible cause is the use of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and/or “chew” products. Smoking and using these sorts of things tends to dry out your mouth. Dry mouth, in turn, can cause halitosis. Also, if you use tobacco-based products, there is also an increased chance of developing oral issues like periodontal disease. This disease can also lead to foul-smelling breath.
Another bad breath culprit is food. When you eat foods with particular sorts of oils, they can lead to bad breath more readily than others. Examples of these foods include garlic and onions, but there are additional spices and vegetables that can cause funky mouth smells. Although it does help to brush your teeth regularly (in order to eliminate food debris in and around the teeth) the aforementioned foods may still cause foul breath. This is because, sometimes when digested, foods with these certain distinct oils are carried into the bloodstream, and then the lungs, where they can then wreak havoc on your breath. Eating these foods in moderation may help with bad breath.
There are some serious causes of ill odors coming from the mouth, too. If you have quit using tobacco products, brush regularly and are steering clear of onions and garlic, you may want to see a doctor or dentist to rule out the following issues.
Dry mouth can be to blame for bad breath, and it doesn’t just result from the use of tobacco products. It can also occur when you have a condition that releases less saliva into your mouth than is normal. Saliva cleans your mouth naturally, getting rid of some food debris that can cause strange smells. A doctor may be able to prescribe medicine to eliminate dry mouth, if you have this condition.
Diseases or dental problems can also cause bad breath. Some of these can be serious, so it is important to see a physician or dentist if you suspect you could have any of these problems.
One issue is that of dental hygiene. If your teeth are in good condition and you are just starting to notice bad breath occasionally, you should brush more frequently and, most importantly, be sure to floss at least once daily. This removes bacteria, and thus, ill fragrance from the mouth.
If you have irritated gums and pain in a tooth or multiple teeth, the situation may be more serious and you will probably need to see a dentist. Your bad breath could be due to gingivitis or gum disease.
As far as disease goes, certain kinds of medical issues can also be causing bad breath. In these cases, the problem is not the mouth itself, but another part of the body. Some metabolic disorders, cancers, liver/kidney disorders or diabetes can cause bad breath. Even acid reflux problems can lead to issues with breath smells.
When you suspect that you could be afflicted with one of these conditions, see a doctor immediately for an exam and possible treatment. It could be possible that your illness is not serious, but something that still requires treatment; respiratory infections, ulcers and even certain medicines have been traced to bad breath, too.
There are a variety of treatments available for halitosissome of which are prescription, and others that are home remedies or over the counter fixes.
Three of the biggest things you can do to prevent or eliminate bad breath are to brush your teeth after each meal, use alcohol-free mouthwash rinses, and floss. When you brush, make sure to get a toothbrush with soft bristles (as to not damage tooth enamel or gums) and also use fluoride toothpaste. Ingredients such as zinc or chlorine dioxide are also helpful in neutralizing bacteria that causes odor. Brushing your tongue can also help in removing odor-causing bacteria.
If you wear dentures, it can also help to clean them thoroughly each day. Even if you use only a partial denture or bridge, this is equally important.
Another thing that can help is to consume lots of water daily. Having a moist mouth (resulting from water only, not coffee, alcohol or soft drinks) can help keep your breath smelling fresh. Sugarless gum, candies and products like TheraBreath mouth wetting lozenges can also help by stimulating saliva glands to naturally moisten the mouth.
Decreasing your consumption of things that are proven to cause bad breath, such as coffee, tobacco, alcohol and garlic/onions can also help. Eat more foods with fiber to substitute for odor-causing meals.
If your problem is medical, a doctor can help. There are cures for chronic dry mouth such as artificial saliva or other medications.
Another step in conquering bad breath is to see your dentist twice annually. Often the cause of halitosis is tooth or gum-related, so it’s important to get a clean bill of oral health. If there turns out to be an orally-related issue causing your bad breath, your dentist can usually treat it.
Good oral care, healthy diet and eliminating bad breath-causing habits can lead you once again to sweet-smelling breath.