Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. Do people refuse to talk to you as a result of the smell that comes out of your vocal cavity? Do they give you a perplexed look when you talk?
Here are some causes.
The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic and spices, also can cause bad breath. After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs and affect your breath. Smoking causes its own unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. A colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth. If not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums (periodontitis). Your tongue also can trap bacteria that produce odors. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or don’t fit properly can harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors. A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia (zeer–o-STOE-me-uh) can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to “morning breath,” and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open. Chronic dry mouth can be caused by a problem with your salivary glands and some diseases. Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath. Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores. Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath. Diseases, such as some cancers, and conditions such as metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive breath odor as a result of chemicals they produce.
These situations can be so bad and can make you lose out on a lot of things. In order to prevent them or at least curb them a little, we have gathered some tips for you to follow.
Eat a low-carb diet balanced with fats and proteins. Fatty foods break down and create ketones, a byproduct of fat that sits in your stomach and ferments; the odor of ketones then come back up through your esophagus and can stick to your tongue. That’s why it’s important to add healthy carbs like broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and fresh fruits into your diet, which balance out the fats and promote better breath.
Snack on more apples or any other crunchy, healthy foods. The hard texture of apples, celery, carrots, etc., can remove food caught between your teeth and rub away bacteria that sit on them, creating that “fuzzy” feeling when you run your tongue over your teeth. Hard, crunchy foods act like a natural toothbrush.
Drink 48 ounces of water a day. H2O lubricates your mouth, keeping bacteria at bay, and also keeps your body functioning normally. Drink more green juice and less coffee. Green juice contains low levels of acid, while coffee contains high amounts, which can lead to bad breath.
Brush and floss every single day. Sure, flossing is an extra step, but it’s an essential one. Brushing your teeth helps nix the plaque and bacteria on your teeth, but flossing helps dislodge anything that your toothbrush couldn’t get to. If you don’t floss regularly, the food in between your teeth will feed the bacteria in your mouth, and the more nutrients you give the bacteria, the more the bacteria will give off stinky acids that cause bad breath.
Clean your tongue. Bacteria stick to your taste buds, then release a waste byproduct that causes a gross stench. Try using a tongue scraper or make sure that you brush your tongue to remove any bacteria, byproducts from the bacteria, or plaque.
Rinse with alcohol-free mouthwash that contains a zinc compound. The goal is to always keep your mouth moist, because your saliva helps wash away odor- and cavity-causing bacteria. Alcohol dries your mouth out and leads to more bacteria and eventually bad breath. “It’s also important to pick up an alcohol-free mouthwash with a zinc compound in it, since zinc kills the volatile sulphur compounds,”
Steer clear of cigarettes. Smoking not only dries out your mouth and body tissues, the nicotine actually squeezes the blood vessels so you’re not getting healthy saliva flow. This combo is what disrupts your mouth’s normal functioning process and leads to smelly breath. To avoid this from happening, stop smoking ASAP or never start. Ever.
Apply flavored lip gloss. This isn’t going to turn your garlic breath into the most amazing-smelling breath ever, but it will help mask the odor until you get the chance to brush and floss your teeth.
Visit your dentist regularly. Especially if your bad breath isn’t going away and you’ve tried all of the above, since you could be dealing with something more serious.
Lastly, don’t forget your veggies. Greens promote a more alkaline environment, so the bad-breath-causing acid in your body balances out. Also, your mom will be proud.