Bad Breath: Causes and Cures

Bad Breath: Causes and Cures

Posted by Dr. Lee May 03, 2021

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Bad breath or Halitosis, in medical terms, is one of the most common oral problems faced by people. One out of every four individuals suffers from bad breath at some point in their life. It can put you in embarrassing situations in public, especially while interacting with others. Multiple occurrences of such incidents can put you in severe anxiety or make you over-anxious to speak or interact with people. Halitosis is very easy to cure or avoid in the first place by maintaining basic oral hygiene and avoiding a few things from your daily routine.

What causes Bad Breath or Halitosis?

  • Bad breath can be caused due to a few factors including not having good oral hygiene. Not washing your mouth properly after a meal. Not brushing properly twice a day can also cause plaque building in your mouth, resulting in bacteria growth. This can cause a severe foul smell in your breath.
  • Often plaque builds between teeth as food particles get stuck there. Not brushing or flossing properly between the gaps can prolong the process of plaque building. With time, plaque started to harden and can cause severe damage to the gums including bleeding. Gum diseases like Gingivitis and Periodontitis are the result of hardened plaque in between your teeth. These can cause Halitosis or bad breath.
  • Some food we consume daily can cause bad breath. Horseradish, Canned fish, Coffee, Cheese, Garlic, and Onion are some of the food that can cause bad breath.
  • Bad breath is an unavoidable result of smoking and chewing tobacco. Prolong smoking and chewing tobacco can severely damage your teeth and gums, causing permanent foul breath. Drinking alcohol can also produce a foul odor in your breath. 
  • ‘Dry mouth’ is another reason for bad breath. People often suffer from ‘dry mouth’ which occurs due to the lack of hydration inside your mouth. In such cases, saliva isn’t present inside the mouth as much as it should be causing dryness. Dryness can speed up the bacteria-building process in your mouth causing bad breath. 

How to Avoid Bad Breath

  • Maintaining proper oral hygiene is the most important thing to avoid any foul breath. Brushing and flossing properly every day can prevent plaque building and the growth of bacteria. These two are the major reasons for bad breath. Avoiding these circumstances not only will keep your gums and teeth healthy but avoid halitosis.
  • Avoid eating a sugary diet. The less carbohydrate or sugary food present in your diet the better. This is not only good for your overall health but also prevents bacteria growth inside the mouth. No bacteria mean no bad breath. 
  • A few food items cause bad breath. Avoiding these items may not be easy or healthy in some cases. Citrus fruits, cheese, coffee can cause foul breath. After a meal involving these items, it is important to clean your mouth properly to get rid of any residue smell. However, some foods like onion, garlic, canned fish, and horseradish leave a strong odor behind. Washing your mouth after eating these things might not entirely get rid of the smell. Unless these foods are passed through your body completely the breath can carry a foul odor. If you are planning on going out, or have to attend a meeting or a party, better avoid these items beforehand. 
  • If you have a cough, throat infection, or any other oral disease, it is important to seek medical help. Often bad breath can occur due to these problems. 
  • Smoking, drinking, and chewing tobacco are bad for your health. They not only damage your health but also causes bad breath. Giving up hee bad habits can do a lot of good to your health. 
  • If you have dry mouth problems consult a doctor. Try keeping your mouth hydrated as much as possible. Non-sugary chewing gums or mouth fresheners can help you salivate more. People suffering from dry mouth should drink enough fluid more often. 
  • If you have dentures or braces you are more likely to have bad breath. Dentures and braces need to be cleaned properly. Braces create a lot of gaps in your teeth due to the wiring which can store food articles if not cleaned properly. There are special toothbrushes like sulcabrush, end-tuft brush, available for people having braces, which helps clean the tight spaces between wires. 

Bad breath is not a negligible problem as it can be caused by several oral problems. If you experience bad breath it is highly recommended to visit a doctor and have a thorough oral checkup to determine the cause. Bad breath might be an oral problem but it can also be the result of some even bigger ones.

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