You have probably found yourself noticing a broken smell coming from your mouth. At these desperate times, your hand must have reached for a chewing gum sorting this problem out making this unpleasant moment forgotten as if it never happened. And yet, it does happen again.
Instead of reaching for the chewing gum repeatedly, you should try fixing it permanently.
Infections. If you had surgical intervention, then the bad breath is justified, but it can also happen due to cavities, gum disease, or mouth sores.
Maybe you did not know, but there is also a medical term for this – it is halitosis. It is characterized by an unpleasant odor coming from the mouth. The first thought that comes to people’s minds is that they have got a cavity. Luckily, the solution usually does not require visiting the dentist.
Bad breath is caused by bacteria living within the surface of the tongue and in the throat, which produces sulfur and breaks down proteins.
Poor oral hygiene
Another cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene, which leads to food pieces getting stuck between the teeth. When these chunks of food start degrading, bad breath is the least of your problems. What follows are dental problems, such as periodontitis, plaque building up causing gum disease, and even yeast infections of the mouth. Bad breath is usually a consequence of these problems.
Another way in which food can cause bad breath is the type of food that we eat. Foods like onions, garlic and spices, after being digested, enter the bloodstream, end up in lungs and affect our breath.
Diet low in carbohydrates causes breath called “ketone breath,” characteristic for the fruity acetone-like odor.
Saliva is very important for the natural removal of the food particles from our mouth. However, some people’s glands do not secrete enough of it, which is why food particles stay stuck in the mouth leading to bad breath. This is a condition called Xerostomia.
During the sleep period, our mouths are dry, which is why the “morning breath” occurs. If you are taking medication, such as diuretics antihistamines, insulin shots, triamterene (Dyrenium) or paraldehyde or have problems with your salivary glands, you may have bad breath as a result.
You must have noticed that smokers have bad breath. This bad habit leads to oxygen reduction in the mouth and consequently, bad breath. Stains on teeth, reduced sense of taste and smell, gum disease and oral cancer are other outcomes, besides bad breath, caused by smoking.
Bad breath can be an indicator of some health diseases, such sinus infections, pneumonia, sore throat (pharyngitis), thrush, bronchitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, and some liver or kidney diseases.
In the majority of cases, bad breath will be caused by the mucus characteristic of specific conditions, and it will disappear as soon as the disease is cured.
Diseases and conditions, such as some cancers or metabolic disorders, produce specific chemicals which result in distinctive breath odor. Chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal reflux diseases) is usually associated with bad breath.
Special attention should be paid to children, since bad breath in young children can be caused by a foreign body, such as a small toy or piece of food, lodged in their nostrils.
How to fight bad breath?
There are ways to prevent and cure bad breath:
Regular dental checkups
How often is regular? Once or twice a year should be enough for the teeth to be examined and dentures cleaned.
Use these visits to prevent any mouth health issues that could sneak up on you and turn into a problem.
Drink plenty of water
If your mouth is dry, take a glass of water. Swish it in your mouth for thirty seconds to wash off the food leftovers. Reaching for the chewing gum could do the trick for the moment, but it causes stomach acid, which again leads to bad breath – so you will not accomplish much in the long run.
Some vegetable function as natural breath fresheners and these are celery and parsley due to the chlorophyll they contain. You can nibble on celery as an afternoon snack and add parsley to soups and other food since it kills bacteria while raw celery or carrots will keep plaque from forming.
If you wish to freshen your breath, you can also add a few drops of peppermint or tea tree oil on the tongue or toothbrush. This will not only freshen your breath, but it will kill the bacteria from the mouth.
Baking soda is usual in every kitchen and it has been used for maintaining oral hygiene and fighting bad breath for a very long time.
Hydrogen peroxide also neutralizes bacteria that cause bad breath. You can make a mixture of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water and use as a mouthwash.
Regular brushing and flossing
Brushing and flossing teeth at least twice a day will help you avoid bad breath.
The right choice of toothpaste plays an important role. You should opt for those with antibacterial properties. Furthermore, dentists advise changing the toothbrush every three months, since new ones are better at plaque removal. Besides, you should clean your tongue as well.
When it comes to diet, you should avoid food that causes halitosis. Also, smoking, coffee, soft drinks and alcohol should be avoided as these all cause dry mouth. Chewing gum is also not the right choice, but occasionally it can do you good, especially because it stimulates saliva. Breath mints and mouthwashes, which contain alcohol should also be avoided since it makes the matter worse.
If you pay attention to food, drinks, keep regular oral hygiene, do not have sore throat or sinusitis but still have bad breath, then you should consider visiting your doctor since something more serious could be in question.
Images by: 123RF Photo Stock
Last article update: 5/9/2019