The causes of bad breath or halitosis range from improper oral practice to severe medical condition. Details are discussed below.
Improper/poor oral hygiene and dental problems – Dental problems are the result of improper or poor oral hygiene. When a person does not brush his teeth and tongue as often as he should, floss at least once a day, and use an oral antiseptic, food particles that remain in the mouth and in between teeth will emit hydrogen sulfur vapors and bacteria. Hydrogen sulfur vapors produce a rotten-egg like odor which causes bad breath. Bacteria (plaque) also form on the teeth and cause tooth decay and gingivitis. The unclean dentures will harbor unwanted food particles and bacteria that causes odor.
The food we eat – There are certain types of food that cause bad breath. Some of the most popular are garlic, onion, and cabbage. Several other types of spices and certain vegetables also can cause bad breath. It happens when these types of food are digested and the oil they contain enters in the body’s bloodstream. It goes throughout the body including the lungs. When the person exhales, the pungent oil is released to the mouth which is the reason for bad breath. The odor expires when the oil is completely emitted out of the body.
Dry mouth – “Morning breath” is natural to many. This is because during sleep, the salivary glands stop producing saliva which makes the mouth “dry”. (Saliva moistens and cleanses the mouth.) Dry mouth invites bacteria to breed on the dead cells around the mouth particularly on the areas of the cheeks, gums, and tongue; this produces that familiar bad breath in the morning. Morning breath is even worse to people who sleep with their mouth open since the air can dry up the mouth easily.
Smoking and other medications can cause problems to salivary glands which can lead to chronic dry mouth.
Tobacco products – Aside from the effect to salivary glands, smoking tobacco products itself can cause bad breath. And since tobacco can cause periodontal disease, bad breath is more likely to smokers than the non-smokers.
Disease – GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatal hernia can cause bad breath. Diabetes can produce bad odor. Several other illnesses can cause bad breath. These include liver failure which can cause a distinctive fishy odor, kidney failure which can give off odor that is urine-like, and chronic lung infection which also produces a bad-smelling breath.
Throat, nasal, and mouth conditions can also cause bad breath. Canker sores, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, mononucleosis, tonsillitis, strep throat, nasal discharge, and sinus infection are all associated to bad breath.
Skipping meals and severe dieting or fasting – Since chewing stimulates the production of saliva, eating helps the mouth to be cleansed normally. When a person skips meal, the salivary glands cease to work, thus, the increase in bacteria which cause bad breath. When a person does is dieting, he produces a chemical known as keto acids. High concentration of keto acids is called ketoacidosis. This has a distinctive fruity odor which is as well considered as bad odor.
Knowing these causes will lead to the prevention of bad breath. Take note that most of these causes can be prevented by practicing a good oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle. Bad breath is a condition that is common to millions of Americans. But it does not have to be present to you as well.