It can be difficult to live with chronic halitosis, which is a condition that affects a significant portion of Americans. Oral odor is frequently off-putting, isolating or embarrassing, and it can ruin anything from a date to a job interview. Unfortunately, the stress caused by bad breath can lead to more bad breath, according to the Columbian news source La Cronica del Quindio.
Dental health expert Gustavo Angarita told the website that salivary levels can be affected by stress. Saliva naturally keeps bacteria at bay. Angarita said that in times of anxiety, the mouth produces less moisture, allowing oral microbes to flourish and eat away at the enamel of the teeth.
Not all bacteria erode tooth minerals, however. Some strains of anaerobic microogranisms simply feed on food particles left on the tongue and palate, according to a study published in the journal Oral Diseases. When saliva levels decrease, these microbes go to work producing odor molecules, which give bad breath its scent.
Angarita added that anxiety can contribute to bruxism, or grinding of the teeth, which can also contribute to the stress-halitosis feedback loop.
To get rid of bad breath, the dentist recommended brushing three times a day helps. When this does not alleviate odor, individuals with halitosis may consider rinsing with a specialty breath freshener.