Bad breath– medically known as halitosis– is often embarrassing for sufferers. Embarrassment isn’t the only consequence of bad breath, however; chronic halitosis can negatively impact both the personal and professional lives of sufferers. Fortunately, bad breath is typically a highly treatable condition. So, instead of popping breath mints to mask the odor, read on to learn the potential causes of your halitosis and how you can start treating it today.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors. The most common culprits include:
- Poor dental health habits. If you’re guilty of neglecting your daily brushing and flossing, chances are your breath doesn’t smell fresh. When you don’t brush and floss every day, small food particles stay in your mouth, trapped between your teeth. These leftover particles promote bacterial growth in the mouth– in between teeth, on the gums, and even on your tongue. Not surprisingly, this excessive bacteria growth leads to halitosis.
- Certain foods. Most people are aware that certain foods– think onions and garlic– leave you with less-than-pleasant smelling breath. Brushing your teeth or popping a breath mint help mask the odor, of course, but only briefly. That’s because food is absorbed into your bloodstream after digestion, and eventually makes its way into your lungs. Then, the odor is given off in your breath. So, how can you combat bad breath resulting from foods you’ve eaten? Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of the smell entirely is to wait for the food to pass through your body completely.
- Smoking. Cigarette smoking is a common cause of halitosis. Bad breath resulting from smoking is due to leftover smoke particles in the throat and lungs, which are then given off in the breath. Cigarette smoke can linger in the lungs for hours, which is why a smoker’s breath can still smell potent even if he hasn’t smoked in a while. Additionally, smokers are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease, which is another cause of halitosis.
- Health concerns. What if you don’t smoke, avoid foods that cause bad breath, are diligent with brushing and flossing, but still suffer from halitosis? Sometimes, bad breath can signal certain conditions ranging from mild– such as postnasal drip or chronic sinus infections– to more serious health concerns. Serious health concerns linked to halitosis include diabetes, pneumonia, and liver and kidney problems.
Now that you’re aware of the causes of halitosis, how can you prevent it? Of course, if your bad breath is the result of a health condition, your doctor will need to recommend the appropriate treatment for the underlying condition. For other causes of halitosis, consider the following prevention tips:
- Visit your dentist regularly. If you’ve been avoiding the dentist for years, now’s the time to get back into the habit of regular dental trips. You should make an effort to visit the dentist twice a year for preventative care in the form of professional cleanings and check-ups.
- Perfect your oral hygiene. In between your regularly scheduled dental visits, work on perfecting your oral hygiene at home. Make an effort to brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste– and don’t forget to brush the tongue too! Release those food particles trapped between your teeth by flossing every day. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash twice daily.
- Quit smoking. If you needed another reason to kick your smoking habit to the curb, you now have one: ridding yourself of halitosis. You’ll be amazed by how much fresher your breath smells once you’re cigarette free.
- Drink plenty of water. Not only is drinking water good for your overall health, it’s also important for your oral health. Water helps to wash away food particles and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
For more information about the causes of halitosis or for further prevention tips, contact us today. We look forward to helping you achieve your healthiest smile!