80 million people in the US are affected every day by chronic bad breath, also known as Halitosis. Bad breath is an important oral health issue; whether it’s your own or someone else’s, and it may be more than an embarrassing social problem—it can be a sign of disease or illness.
Common Causes of Bad Breath
Poor oral hygiene
Bad breath is typically caused by a sulfur compound that is left by bacteria created from decaying food particles and other leftover debris that are trapped between teeth. This is why you should be flossing once a day. In addition to proper brushing, flossing daily helps remove the food particles and bacteria that contribute to bad breath, making it one of the easiest ways to prevent and banish bad breath. Brushing your tongue, cheeks and the roof of your mouth can help remove food particles, too, and of course, regular visits to the dentist are recommended as well.
Saliva is important for more reasons than you might think, one of which is that your mouth is more susceptible to plaque buildup if less saliva is present. As we’ve established, this building may result in an unpleasant smell.
If you deal with bad breath due to a lack of saliva, you can avoid the following circumstances:
- Alcohol – Beverages containing alcohol may promote a dry mouth and cause bad breath, so before you hop into bed and forget after a night of drinking, be sure to floss, no matter how tired you may seem to be.
- Early morning – You may be prone to bad breath in the morning because saliva stops flowing when you sleep. Mornings may be the best time for your daily dental flossing.
- Being hungry or thirsty – Since there is not much saliva in your mouth when you are dehydrated, you’re prone to increased bacterial buildup and bad breath at these times. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and are eating right. Chewing food also increases the saliva in your mouth, so if you’re skipping meals or dieting, you may develop bad breath. If you must restrict your food intake and eat infrequently, drink plenty of water to help maintain the level of saliva in your mouth to help prevent bad breath.
Causes of Chronic Bad Breath
Having good oral hygiene and a healthy diet are good ways to be sure you avoid bad breath. But, if you’re doing all of these things and are still having problems, there may be another cause, including some serious health conditions.
Some serious oral health conditions associated with bad breath to include:
- Throat problems such as strep throat
- Gum disease
- Dental Cavities
- Throat or oral cancer
- Tonsils that contain trapped food particles.
- A root canal that is infected
Bad breath can also be a symptom of a variety of serious non-oral health problems including:
- Liver disease
- Digestive system ailments such as:
- Acid reflux
- Lung infections
- Lung disease