Published on: 15 Sep 2021
Why Do Poor Habits Cause Bad Breath?
What Health Problems Are Associated With Bad Breath?
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins to form, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.
- Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries (cavities).
- The medical condition of dry mouth (also called xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.
- Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.
What Can I Do to Prevent Bad Breath?
- Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush teeth after you eat (keep a toothbrush at work or school to brush after lunch). Don’t forget to brush the tongue, too. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash twice a day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.
- See your dentist regularly — at least twice a year. He or she will conduct an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning and will be able to detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.
- Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
- Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Gums and mints containing xylitol are best.
- Keep a log of the foods you eat. If you think they may be causing bad breath, bring the log to your dentist to review. Similarly, make a list of the medications you take. Some drugs may play a role in creating mouth odors.
Who Treats Bad Breath?
Frequently Asked Questions:
Bad breath is caused by bacteria that produce odors in the mouth. When you don't brush or floss your teeth regularly, bacteria build up on the pieces of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. Your breath stinks because of the sulfur compounds generated by these bacteria.
Poor hygiene - This is the most common cause of bad breath. When food particles get stuck between the teeth or elsewhere in the mouth, the bacteria that grow there break them down. That process releases a foul smell. The bacteria can also cause tooth decay and gum disease.
The majority of the time, the foul breath may be treated and prevented by practicing good dental hygiene. It is rarely life-threatening and the prognosis is good. However, bad breath can be a complication of a medical disorder that must be treated.
A natural way to instantly freshen your breath is to use salt water to rinse your mouth. Simply dissolve a pinch of salt in a glass of warm water, stir thoroughly, then swirl the solution about your mouth and teeth for 30 seconds.