Commonly known as bad breath, halitosis is one of the common problems nowadays. There is a lot of possible reasons of bad breath but the most common of them all is poor oral hygiene. In some cases, halitosis can result to excessive anxiety and embarrassment which may lead to halitophobia or delusional halitosis. This is a case where people may experience paranoia and develop obsessive oral cleaning.
Anyone can suffer from halitosis. In fact, it is the third most common reason that people seek dental care. Bacteria build-up on our teeth as well as in our tongue and gums when we skip brushes are frequently the source of bad breath. These bacteria can produce unpleasant-smelling gasses and are also one of the causes of gum disease and tooth decay.
Causes of Bad Breath
Food and Drinks
Highly flavored foods like garlic, onions, and spices are likely to make your breath smell. Aside from the odor of the food itself, the breakdown products of these after digestion are carried in the blood to the lungs where they can affect the breath. Alcohol and coffee are normally drinks that can cause bad breath.
However, bad breath caused by food and drinks usually lasts for a short time only. It can be evaded by not eating or drinking these too often.
Smoking does not only affect your breath but can also stain your teeth, reduce your sense of taste and irritate your gums. Excessive smoking can lead to severe gum disease.
If the mouth lacks enough saliva that cleans the bacteria then odors can build up. This symptom is called xerostomia. This happens when a person is dehydrated.
There are certain drugs that can dry out the saliva that can increase odors. Nitrates, chemotherapy medications, and tranquilizers are some bad-breath causing medications.
When fats are broken down in our digestive system, chemicals called ketones are formed and cause bad breath. This occurs when taking low-carbohydrate diets or during fasting.
Rare Causes of Bad Breath
In a very unusual case, bad breath can be a symptom of a serious complication. These complications may include cancer, liver failure, acid reflux and other metabolic diseases.
The best way to fight halitosis is to maintain a good oral hygiene. Make sure that you brush your teeth twice a day for a minimum. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as bacteria may also live on the rough surface of your tongue. Since brushing only cleans at least 60% of the surface of your teeth, it is highly recommended to utilize dental floss.
Clean your dentures, mouth guard or anything that goes into your mouth regularly as these may also be one of the causes of bad smelling breath.
Follow the 8-glasses-a-day rule in drinking water to avoid dehydration, and focus on your diet. Stay away from highly flavored foods and drinks like the ones mentioned above.
Have regular check-ups with your dentist at least every 3 months to maintain good oral health.
If bad breath persists even after the causes are being modulated, it is highly suggested to visit a doctor for a further case study as it may be a symptom of something more serious.