Many people experience a moment of bad breath now and again. Research studies indicate that 30% of the American population complain about bad breath. While it’s a normal phenomenon for most people, for some it’s a medical condition known as halitosis. This prevalence is why supermarket shelves are overflowing with mouthwashes, floss, gum, and other products to reduce bad breath, but many of these products only address the issue temporarily and often don’t address the underlying causes.
What are these underlying causes? Some foods such as garlic and onions contribute significantly to bad breath, and some hygiene habits play an important as well. If simple changes in diet and hygiene techniques do not reduce bad breath, however, it is advisable to seek a dentist to determine the causes and best treatment options.
Symptoms of Bad Breath
Symptoms of bad breath differ due to the variety of possible underlying causes. Some individuals have bad breath without even realizing it, as it is difficult to detect your own bad breath. Thus, many people realize that they have bad mouth odor only after they get numerous complaints from relatives or close friends.
Causes of Bad Breath
Many aromatic foods such as onions and garlic can cause bad breath because they are absorbed in the blood and carried to the lungs, which affect the breath. Moreover, when they are around the teeth area, they accelerate bacteria conversion which can also contribute to bad breath. To prevent this, individuals should always brush or floss their teeth immediately after eating the highlighted foods. However, it is crucial to note that garlic stays in the blood for two days.
Dry mouth contributes to bad breath in several individuals. It can be brought on by some medical conditions and even some medications. Saliva helps in keeping the mouth clean by washing away bacteria. It may sound simple and mundane, but saliva acts as a natural deterrent from bad breath. Dry mouth mostly occurs during sleep, which explains why many people have bad breath when they wake up. Chewing gum between meals can be a simple but effective way to prevent a dry mouth.
Studies indicate that many smokers have bad breath. Tobacco contains nicotine, which can lead to gum diseases and plaque buildup on the teeth. Both of these conditions are known to accelerate the formation of mouth bacteria, which causes bad mouth odor. Tobacco users should brush and floss their teeth after smoking to help prevent this from happening.
Alcohol is usually associated with bad breath. Excessive consumption of alcohol reduces saliva in the mouth, thus increasing bacteria in the mouth. To avoid this, alcohol users should chew gum regularly or floss their teeth after drinking.
Certain Medical Conditions
Individuals with certain medications often experience extreme bad breath. Many prescribed drugs contain chemicals with an unpleasant smell that, when dissolved in the blood, are carried to the lungs where they can affect the type of breath produced. Additionally, some drugs can lead to a dry mouth, which leads to bad breath like we mentioned above. Individuals are advised to seek a dentist’s consultation to help them curb bad breath caused by medical conditions or treatments.