What Causes Bad Breath? Do You Have it? You May Not Know You Do
Everyone has experienced bad breath at one time or another. For many people it is temporary and is easily avoided. For others, chronic bad breath has many causes. The most common causes for bad breath include poor dental hygiene, eating strong smelling foods, using tobacco products, having dry mouth or an underlying health condition.
1- Poor Dental Hygiene
The most common cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. If you don’t floss and brush your teeth daily, food particles can remain stuck between your teeth, causing odorous bacteria to accumulate. Bacteria from food particles can also accumulate on your tongue, which most people don’t think to brush.
2- Potent Foods
Another cause of bad breath is the type of foods you eat. Foods with strong smells such as onions and garlic typically produce the same strong odor once inside your mouth. Brushing and mouthwash can temporarily take away the smell of these foods. The smell, however, doesn’t go away until the food has been fully digested and has gone through your body.
A third cause of bad breath are tobacco products. These items are hazardous to your mouth and can lead to tissue, tooth and bone decay, which can lead to bad breath.
4- Dry Mouth
A fourth cause of bad breath is dry mouth, or xerostomia. With this condition, you are unable to produce enough saliva needed to regularly wash the germs and food particles off your teeth. The remains decay and produce germs which can give off potent odors.
5- Underlying Health Problems
The last cause of bad breath is an underlying health issue. In most cases, bad breath is a symptom of gum (or periodontal) disease. Other conditions with symptoms of bad breath include pneumonia, post-nasal drip, cavities, diabetes, acid reflux, sinus infections, bronchitis and kidney or liver problems.
How Can You Test To See If You Have Bad Breath?
But what if none of these causes apply to you? Can you still have bad breath? Here are some easy tests you can do yourself to check if your breath is anything but pleasant.
Cup your hands over your nose and mouth and exhale.
Breath into a clean, empty glass. Same as the first method, but you use a glass instead of your hands.
Lick one of your wrists, then wait for the saliva to dry and smell.
Scrape or swab the back pf your tongue. The back of your tongue is not as self-cleaning as the tip is so by swabbing or scraping the saliva from the back of your tongue, you’ll get a more accurate reading.
Floss your teeth and then smell the floss afterwards.
For the most accurate readings (or smelling), perform these tests before you brush your teeth.
If you don’t smell anything after performing any of these tests, it means your breath is satisfactory. If it has an unpleasant odor, however, you may need to consider one or more of the above causes. Likely, the bad breath is an indicator of poor dental hygiene.
There is a lot going on inside your mouth which makes it hard to keep it clean and fresh-smelling. The best way to combat bad breath is daily oral care maintenance. Be sure to brush and floss twice a day and use mouthwash daily.
It is also important to have regular teeth cleaning to maintain the health of your mouth. At Dental Horizons, we’ll look over your health history, do an oral cancer screening as well as exams for periodontal disease and tooth decay on your first visit. We know that a healthy mouth is a symptom of a healthy body.