There are plenty of causes of bad breath, and while it is an unpleasant condition to have no matter what the cause is, there are times you want to do more than mask its odor.
Health issues or dental problems sometimes are the reason for foul breath, and they need to be addressed by tackling the problem and healing it rather than masking the symptoms.
Chewing gum, sucking on mints or using mouthwash are easy fixes, even if they are temporary, but masking chronic odors should alert you to the fact that there could be something else going on that is causing the unpleasant breath.
Here are the four top causes of bad breath and some information on what you can do about them.
1. Eating Certain Foods
Obviously, eating certain foods is a major culprit of smelly breath. Onions or garlic can cause foul smells to emanate from the mouth. Garlic also enters the bloodstream and gets into the lungs where it can be excreted through the breath long after a garlicky meal has been consumed.
Dairy products also can be problematic because of their amino acids. These amino acids interact with bacteria that occurs naturally on the tongue and makes breath smell. The good news is that bad breath caused by food are easy to remedy.
Brush your teeth, floss and use mouthwash.
You do not need to be overly concerned unless, despite constant oral care, your breath still smells unpleasant. Then it could be due to the other top causes which should be looked into by a medical professional if they persist.
Any medication that dries the mouth out, whether prescription or over-the-counter, can be a major contributor to halitosis. Antihistamines are a common contributor. Some antidepressants and diuretics can also be the problem.
The reason some medications cause halitosis is due to the way they dry up saliva which is a natural moisturizer that otherwise keeps breath fresh. Antihistamines dry out the sinuses and lead to dry mouth as well.
These issues can be corrected by using specialty products that help hydrate the mouth such as moisture-formulated mouthwashes. Drinking lots of water is also a way to treat this issue.
If you've noticed increased bad breath after starting a new medication, speak with your healthcare professional and let them know. It may be a known side effect of the particular medication, but keeping them up-to-date on all effects can help prevent potential complications.
3. Gingivitis or Periodontitis
When the gums redden or begin to recede, bacteria from foods can get into the system and cause chronic bad breath. These oral issues need to be remedied or the problem will persist. If left untreated, these dental problems can result in tooth loss and a need for dentures.
Signs of these dental issues include bleeding when brushing or flossing the teeth. The gums may also be swollen or tender. If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with our office to look over your mouth and gums.
These are just some dental issues that can cause bad breath. Other issues include other medical conditions which are also among the top four causes of bad breath.
Early detection of oral diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis is just one of the reasons it's so vital to your overall health to maintain regular dental visits.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are some major illnesses that cause halitosis. Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux are sometimes to blame, but these can be treated with medications. Some cancers or metabolic disorder are to blame.
Don't become alarmed if you suffer from bad breath more often than a few times a week. Observe the foods you have been eating. Usually, these are the number one cause of the problem. This type of halitosis is easy to fix.
If you cannot fix the problem or you have already ruled out other cause like smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol, check with your doctor or one of our dentists. They will help you eliminate any dental or medical conditions that may be causing the issue for you.