What is Bad Breath?
Up to 65% of people experience halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, at some point in their lives. For some people, it’s more than a passing phase. Some people have chronic halitosis and don’t know how to stop it. They try to mask it with mints, candy, gum, or sprays that aren’t effective in the long-run.
Bad breath is a smell in the mouth caused by many different factors including smoking, bad oral hygiene, alcohol, infections, and other sicknesses. People with bad breath may experience dry mouth, have mouth sores, or a white coating on their tongue.
What Causes Bad Breath?
The good news about bad breath, is that most of the causes of it are lifestyle based. This means that if you change some of your habits, you may be able to say goodbye to halitosis. The bad news is this means you may need to make some big changes to your lifestyle that you may not be ready for.
If you’re a smoker, you probably already know this. The chemicals in cigarettes and other products, including vapes and chewing tobacco, are among the biggest culprits of bad breath. When you smoke, vape, or chew, the chemicals stay behind in your mouth. This leads to changes in your mouth bacteria and can also lead to cellular damage, mouth sores, and even oral cancer. If you’re a smoker with major halitosis, maybe now is the time to make a plan to quit.
Bad Oral Hygiene
Can you get away without brushing or flossing three times a day? Food particles stuck in between your teeth cause bacteria to fester. This abundance of bacteria emits an odor that is often unpleasant which leads to bad breath. While you may think your brushing is good enough, if you have halitosis, you may be wrong. Additionally, dentures can also harbor bacteria that leads to bad breath.
Ever eat something with garlic or onions? These foods are notorious for giving you stinky breath. While it’s important to brush after you eat, this won’t take care of the problem long-term. Unfortunately, stinky foods need to be all the way out of your system before the bad breath goes away.
Medication and Dry Mouth
There are many medications that cause the problem of dry mouth. These medicines are important, but can take a toll on your oral health. They reduce saliva production and can also contain chemicals that are strong enough to smell on your breath.
Hormones are amazing during pregnancy. They allow women to conceive, grow, and give birth to sweet babies. But these hormones can leave women with other challenges too. One of them is bad breath. It is common to see a pregnant woman having stinky breath.
Drugs and Alcohol
Overuse of drugs and alcohol lead to liver damage. One of the ways this damage expressing is through bad breath. Want to say goodbye to bad breath? You may need to seek out treatment for your addiction first before this issue can be resolved.
People love the quick and easy weight loss that a keto diet affords. But what they don’t like is the bad breath that often follows. The ketones produced by eating a low-carb diet and the excessive amounts of protein are two of the reasons this diet isn’t the best choice if you want good smelling breath.
Your delightful morning cup could be the prime suspect in your bad breath mystery. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but if you’re drinking several cups of coffee a day, maybe it’s time to rethink your habit and the effects it’s having on your health. Coffee is a great pick-me-up, but too much of it is probably leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth.
Tonsil stones, post-nasal drip, and some metabolic disorders and cancers can cause bad breath. Additionally, if something is stuck up your nose it can lead to smelly breath. This is especially common in small children.
What Can Bad Breath Reveal About Your Health?
Many people don’t realize that bad breath is closely linked to your health. Cavities, gum disease, diabetes, acid reflux, and sinus infections all cause bad breath. Additionally, they are very serious and need to be monitored and treated by a medical doctor. If you have any of these symptoms and you have a smelly mouth, check with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
How to Cure Bad Breath?
You can not cover up the problem for so long before someone finds you out. Your bad breath isn’t just going to go away with a peppermint. You need to look at all the different factors to decide how to approach treating your bad breath.
A lot of the ways to cure bad breath are about changing your habits. The easiest place to start is with your oral hygiene.
- Brush your teeth. If you aren’t brushing 2-3 times a day, now is the time to start. Use a good ADA recommended toothpaste and make sure you spend at least a minute brushing every surface the toothbrush can reach. Change your toothbrush once every few months. And don’t forget the tongue. It’s important to brush that as well.
- Start flossing. When you floss, you remove food particles from in between your teeth and in hard-to-reach places. It’s important to reduce the risk of cavities and make your breath smell fresh and clean.
- Use mouth wash. A good mouth wash helps remove bacteria and food particles that are associated with bad breath.
- Quit smoking. Still smoking? Well, your halitosis is going nowhere while you continue to use cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. The chemicals in them will continue to stink up your breath and cause other health problems down the line. Ready to cure it? Make a plan to quit smoking and start working the plan. You’d be amazed at the changes to your breath.
- Drink water. If you sip on water throughout the day, it helps reduce dry mouth. This reduces the risk of smelly breath and has numerous additional health benefits as well.
- See a dentist regularly. Dental exams help detect gum disease early on. They can also identify cavities and other issues related to oral health.
- List out the foods you eat. While garlic and onions are pretty obvious, sugar can cause bad breath in some individuals, and detecting it as the cause can be a little more tricky. Start tracking what you’re eating and how the foods you eat increase or decrease your bad breath. If you’re not sure which ones are doing it, bring the list with you the next time you visit your dentist.If you’re on a ketogenic diet, consider switching to something that includes more carbohydrates through vegetables and fruits to reduce your bad breath.
- Manage your health conditions. People with diabetes often experience changes in their breath. The better they manage their blood sugar levels, the more likely they are to have good breath. This is one example of a health condition that causes bad breath. Others include cancer, gum disease, and acute sinus infections.
- Drink less coffee. I said it. But the truth is, coffee does lead to bad breath, and if you want better breath, it might be time to drink less of it. Since your breath won’t get better until after the stench-causing food or drink is out of your system, you’ll deal with bad breath all day long if you’re not careful.
Bad breath is an embarrassing, although rarely life-threatening condition that can usually be managed with a few simple changes. It’s important to manage your oral health by brushing and flossing regularly, eating a nutritious diet, and managing your health conditions. Fill up on water and say goodbye to alcohol, drugs, tobacco and nicotine products. Keep in mind that for most people bad breath is a temporary condition. But if you find yourself with stinky breath all the time, and you already do all of these things, it may be time to talk with your doctor or other medical professional.