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What Really Causes Bad Breath?

Posted by Darren Martin on May 14, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Most people take the time to groom themselves and make themselves presentable including by brushing their teeth. However, some people have the problem of bad breath. This may be unknown to them but it is very apparent and disturbing to people around them.

Also known as halitosis, the problem is short lived in some but in others it is a constant problem. The odor that those who have this issue emit varies depending on the underlying cause of the problem.  Also, there may be additional symptoms other than the bad smell. There may also be a kind of coating on the tongue, a mouth that is dry and a bad taste that may change from time to time.

Causes of bad breath

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The problem may be caused by a number of different things. For it to be eliminated completely, the treatment that is administered must be given according to the cause.

Diet
Diet can cause bad breath if you do not brush the teeth thoroughly and floss as well. This is the way to remove even the tiny food particles that tend to get lodged in between teeth. If they are not removed, the particles can cause tooth decay as well as leave the mouth with a bad smell as bacteria start to grow on them. Foods that have strong odors can also leave the mouth smelling bad. This includes foods like garlic, onion, spices like curry, some kinds of cheese, fish and beverages that are acidic such as coffee.

When foods are absorbed into the bloodstream and then moved to the lungs, odors are notable when you exhale. Such foods can also bring on an upset tummy and cause you to belch during which a bad smell is released.  A person on a diet that is low on carbohydrates can also have a mouth that smells. This kind of bad breath is known as ketone breath.  On such a diet, the body burns the fats it has for energy. The final product of this is ketones which leave an odor similar to that of acetone when one exhales.

Dry Mouth

A mouth that is dry because of decreased saliva flow can also leave your mouth smelling. Saliva is essential for digestion and it also removes food particles that would remain in the mouth and start smelling. Medically known as xerostomia, a dry mouth can be caused by some kinds of medication, problems with the salivary gland and drawing breath through the mouth.
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Consumption of tobacco products

Apart from leaving the teeth stained, irritating the gum tissues and causing and worsening tooth decay, smoking cigarettes or chewing products made with tobacco can also cause bad breath.

Illnesses
There are illnesses that can leave the mouth with a foul odor.  Some of these are diabetes,  intolerance to lactose,  gum diseases or periodontal infection,  local infection of the respiratory tract and  infections of the throat such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis.  Others are Sjogren's syndrome which leaves the mouth dry, disease of the liver or kidney, chronic bronchitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease and chronic sinusitis which may be aggravated  by a post-nasal drip.

Use of dentures and dental appliances
When devices are used in the mouth to correct different dental anomalies, they can cause bad breath. This usually develops from the food particles that are not properly cleaned from the appliances. They then start forming bacteria and causing the teeth to rot as well as emitting a foul smell.

The same problem can also develop when dentures are loosely fitted in the mouth. They can keep grazing against the gums and leave sores and sometimes infections which can start giving off a bad smell.

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Morning breath

When you sleep, bacteria accumulates in the mouth which is why people wake up with a smelly mouth in the morning. When you are awake, saliva is continuously being produced and it cleanses the mouth of food particles thus odor-causing bacteria do not accumulate.

Also, some people tend to breath through the mouth when they are sleeping which incidentally also causes problems with snoring.  Breathing through the mouth leaves it dry which can make morning breath that much worse.

Curing bad breath

Fortunately, bad breath is a problem that can effectively be cured.  For starters, examine your diet if you find  some foods leave you with a smelly mouth. Eliminate them, consume them less frequently or reduce how much of them you use such as ginger and garlic. Also, examine your dental habits. Do floss as well brush and do replace a toothbrush with worn down bristles.

Morning breath can be tackled with mouth washes that are specially meant for use at night when saliva flow is reduced. Using mouthwash after brushing the teeth in the morning, sucking on breath mints and chewing sugarless gum also helps keep odors at bay after a spicy meal.

 

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Topics: bad breath, oral health, Halitosis, get rid of bad breath, periodontal disease, Emergency Dentist