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Bad breath, medically referred to as halitosis, can be caused by poor dental hygiene, underlying health issues, lifestyle choices as well as particular foods. This article will explore among other questions “What are the foods that cause bad breath?”, “What are the best remedies for bad breath?”, and “Do cavities make your breath smelly?”
Causes of Bad Breath
Here are some common causes of bad breath:
1. Poor Dental Hygiene
If you fail to brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth causing bad breath. A sticky colorless film known as plaque forms on your teeth, and if not removed by brushing, it starts to irritate your gums. This plaque and food particles cause bad breath.
Conversely, your tongue also traps bacteria that produce odor, again, this happens if you do not take special care to brush your tongue’s surface.
Dentures that are not regularly cleaned properly also trap food particles and become a lush breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. The same goes for braces and retainers. If you suspect this might be the genesis of your bad odor, discuss this with your orthodontist for guidelines on how to wash them to eliminate the issue.
2. Lifestyle Habits
Smoking and tobacco are bad news for dental hygiene. First, they cause bad breath, second, they stain your teeth and thirdly, smoking makes you more susceptible to gum diseases. (These are another cause of bad breath as you will see later). Smoking also affects one’s sense of smell, making it harder for a smoker to realize how their breath smells.
3. Gum Disease
If you have constant bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth, there is a possibility that you have gum disease, whose primary cause is plaque buildup.
4. Health Issues
Mouth infections can cause halitosis. However, if you show no evidence of this and you maintain a strict dental hygiene regimen with no sign of improvement, you might be suffering from other conditions such sinus conditions, kidney or liver disease, gastric reflux or diabetes. To get to the root cause of the issue, you should see your primary physician.
For younger kids (2-7 years), if there is a sudden onset of halitosis, a food particle or small item could be lodged in their nostril. This is a logical place to start piecing the puzzle together.
5. Dry Mouth
Saliva helps to clean your mouth by loosening and removing debris left in your mouth after a meal.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, means your mouth has a reduced capacity to moisten itself and wash dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, cheeks, and gums. As a result, dead cells accumulate, decompose and cause bad breath. Xerostomia can also result from breathing through the mouth a lot, certain medical treatments as well as a dysfunction in your salivary glands.
6. Food: What Are the Foods That Cause Bad Breath?
When you eat, the food begins being broken down in your mouth. For this reason, foods with strong odors will leave the smell behind until the food has completely passed through your system. The same goes for drinks as well.
- Garlic and onions due to their high Sulphur content
- Milk and cheese, with the exclusion of yogurt which contains healthy bacteria
- Canned tuna
- Coffee and alcohol which promote a dry mouth
Do Cavities Make Your Breath Smelly?
The answer is yes. Bacteria use the sugar in your mouth to provide energy for them to grow and multiply. While this goes on, acid is produced as a waste product. This acid lowers the pH levels of a tooth’s exterior, dissolving the enamel.
If this is not remedied, a hole, called a cavity is created in your enamel. Without intervention, the tissue inside the tooth will continue decaying. As the protein decomposes, it produces foul gases such as hydrogen sulfide, and your breath worsens. In this case, cleaning the tooth, removing the decaying matter, and having it filled is the only remedy.
What Are the Best Remedies for Bad Breath?
With the leading causes or bad breath in mind, your next question is probably “What are the best remedies for bad breath?” While these depending on the root cause of the underlying problem, here are some tips that can help with halitosis:
- Brush your teeth after every meal, or at the very least, twice a day. Also, ensure to replace your toothbrush every two to three months.
- If you have dentures, braces or retainers, talk to your orthodontist about a comprehensive hygiene plan, and strictly adhere to it.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Even something as simple as swishing plain water in the morning can be quite useful for morning breath.
- Go for regular dental checkups.
- Clean your tongue thoroughly. To do this, hold the tip of your tongue with gauze to prevent it from slipping back. This also allows you access to the back of your tongue. Then scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper or improvise with a spoon. This decreases dead cells and bacteria that can cause bad odor.
- Munch on foods that improve your breath. Sometimes, you are unable to floss or brush your teeth due to unforeseen circumstances.
While you wait to do a regular brush, these foods can help counter the bad odor:
- Herbs such as parsley, mint, and cilantro contain chlorophyll that can diffuse bad odor.
- Chew on a clean piece of orange or lemon rind. It will leave a fresh citrusy smell, and stimulate the production of saliva.
- Have a pack of cloves, fennel, or aniseeds and chew occasionally. These seeds have antiseptic qualities that help ward off halitosis-causing bacteria.
- Apples contain pectin which controls odor and stimulates saliva production.
- Live cultures in yogurt reduce odor-causing bacteria that might be present in the mouth.
- A good alcohol-free bottle of mouthwash can be a lifesaver when traveling, on extra lazy days or after an unplanned tuna lunch.
If you discover that bad breath is a constant worry, book an appointment with your orthodontist (insert client link) to help you zero in on what the root cause of the problem is. Without this, every action you take will only offer temporary solutions.
Bad Breath Causes
201 West Washington. Benton, IL 62812
Phone: (618) 438-2815
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I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at Southern Illinois University and then received my Doctorate of Medical Dentistry at the University of Kentucky. After, I attended the University of Tennessee to complete my Master of Science in Orthodontics degree.
I consider every minute of continuing education to be vital for my patients and myself. Staying current with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies within my field allows me to improve treatment efficiency and provide higher quality results for each person I treat.