Occasional bad breath is normal but constant bad Breath is a problem. It may be caused by the foods you eats, poor oral hygiene, medical conditions, or other factors. Most often than not, bad breath can be an embarrassing problem. In this piece TUNDE OGUNTOLA writes on the major causes of bad breath.
Bad breath also known as halitosis, and is characterized by an unpleasant odour of the mouth. It can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition. The symptoms of bad breath include unpleasant odour or taste in the mouth, dry mouth, or white coating on the tongue.
Causes of bad breath include food, tobacco products, poor dental hygiene, health problems, dry mouth, mouth infections, dental problems, or medications.
There are many risk factors and causes for bad breath; some common causes are listed below.
must read: TIPS: How to eliminate bad breath (Mouth Odour)
Food: Food is a primary source of bad odours that come from the mouth. Some foods, such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods, exotic spices (such as curry), some cheeses, fish, and acidic beverages such as coffee can leave a lingering smell. Most of the time this is short term.
Other foods may get stuck in the teeth, promoting the growth of bacteria, which causes bad breath odour. Low carbohydrate diets may also cause ‘ketone breath.’ These diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source. The end-product of making this energy is ketones, which cause a fruity acetone-like odour on the breath when exhaled.
Tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can leave chemicals that remain in the mouth. Smoking can also precipitate other bad-breath causes such as gum disease or oral cancers.
Poor dental hygiene: When a person does not brush or floss regularly, food particles remaining in the mouth can rot and cause bad odors. Poor dental care can lead to a buildup of plaque in the mouth, which causes an odor of its own. Plaque buildup can also lead to periodontal (gum) disease. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis; if gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis.
Health problems: Sinus infections, pneumonia, sore throat (pharyngitis) and other throat infections, tonsil stones (tonsilloliths), thrush, bronchitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, other stomach problems, and some liver diseases or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath.
Dry mouth: Also called xerostomia, dry mouth can also cause bad breath. Saliva helps moisten and cleanse the mouth, and when the body does not produce enough saliva, bad breath may result. Dry mouth may be caused by salivary gland problems, connective tissue disorders (Sjögren’s syndrome), medications, or breathing through the mouth.
Mouth infections: Cavities, gum disease, or impacted teeth may cause bad breath.
Dentures or braces: Food particles not properly cleaned from appliances can rot or cause bacteria and odor. Loose-fitting dentures may cause sores or infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.
Medications: Many medications, including antihistamines and diuretics, can cause dry mouth (see above), which can cause bad breath. Other medications that may lead to bad breath may include triamterene (Dyrenium) and paraldehyde.
Morning breath: Bad breath in the morning is very common. Saliva production nearly stops during sleep, which allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
Pregnancy: Being pregnant in itself does not cause bad breath, but the nausea and morning sickness common during pregnancy may cause bad breath. In addition, hormonal changes, dehydration, and eating different foods due to cravings may also contribute to bad breath during pregnancy.
Other causes of bad breath: Objects stuck in the nose (usually in children), alcoholism, and large doses of vitamin supplements may also cause bad breath.
Treatments for bad breath include proper dental hygiene, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, quitting smoking, and changing bad habits.
On a final note, bad breath can be prevented by proper tooth brushing, quitting smoking, and avoiding foods that cause bad breath odours.