10 Major Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath can be an extremely embarrassing problem to deal with. It can actually hit your self-confidence hard, which is the reason why there are mints, gums, mouthwashes and other products designed to help you fight bad breath. While there are several products available to tackle the issue, they usually provide temporary relief only. To resolve the issue, you need to learn more about different causes of bad breath. Once you have identified the underlying cause, you can then take steps to treat your problem once and for all. Let's find out more about it.

Causes of Bad Breath

From health conditions to unhealthy habits, so many things can contribute to bad breath. It is important to maintain proper dental hygiene to manage bad breath, but you may have bad breath due to other causes that require different measures.

1. You Eat Wrong Stuff

What you eat will always have a direct impact on your health, and the same holds true in case of bad breath. You are likely to experience this issue if you diet includes lots of onions, garlic, exotic spices, fish and spicy food. You may have bad odor after drinking acidic beverages. The odor is the result of these foods sticking in your teeth and providing odor-causing bacteria with food to grow. Some people may develop "ketone breath" because of a low-carb diet. Making small adjustments to your diet will help resolve the issue.

2. You Use Tobacco Products

One of many causes of bad breath is the use of tobacco products. Both smoking and chewing tobacco can result in bad breath, which is mainly because you expose your mouth to thousands of chemicals through smoking. You may also develop gum disease and oral cancer if you do not stop smoking.

3. You Do Not Pay Attention to Oral Health

Poor oral health is another common cause of bad breath. You will experience this problem when you do not brush or floss your teeth daily. It is all about keeping food particles from getting stuck in your teeth. Similarly, poor dental care will eventually lead to plaque, which can cause bad odors and damage your teeth as well.

4. You Have Dry Mouth

Also called xerostomia, dry mouth may also be one of the reasons why some people end up dealing with bad breath. You have to understand that your saliva is your body's way to cleanse and moisten your mouth. It means that you will experience all sorts of problems when your body is not producing enough saliva. Dry mouth could be the result of connective tissue disorders, salivary gland problems and medications. Breathing through your mouth may also lead to the same issue.

5. You Have Allergies

If you take certain medications to treat allergies, you may end up dealing with dry mouth, which will eventually lead to bad breath. Many people develop post-nasal drip due to allergy. It can also be a cause of halitosis or bad breath. Sinus congestion is also a symptom of allergy that can cause dry mouth and bad breath.

6. You Wear Dentures or Braces

It is important to take special care of your braces and dentures. Leaving food particles there on these appliances can provide bacteria a chance to grow. Overtime, this will produce bad odor. You may also develop infections or sores in the mouth due to loose-fitting dentures, which can also result in bad breath.

7. You Take Certain Medication

Your bad breath could be the result of certain medications you may be taking, like nitrates for angina or chemotherapy medications. If you have developed halitosis after starting a new medication, be sure to talk to your doctor to find a better alternative.

8. You Have Certain Medical Conditions

Sometimes, your bad breath is the result of an underlying medical condition. Dry mouth is a common cause, but that bad odor could be due to other medical problems, such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), diabetes, nose infection, tonsillitis, bronchitis or sinusitis.

9. You Exercise Outdoor

While it is a good idea to exercise in fresh atmosphere, spending too much time exercising out in the open can cause breathing problems. Studies show that 1 out 10 people who exercise outdoors have a breathing problem, like wheezing, asthma, or dry mouth. This is especially true when you breathe in cold air in the winter. You may also expose yourself to pollen while working outdoors and this can again result in allergies and bad breath.

10. You Use Mouthwash

It is not a bad idea to use mouthwash to keep your breath fresh, but excessive use can lead to all sorts of problems. Most mouthwashes work for a short time only, but they may contain ingredients that leave your mouth dry. This is only going to make your problem even worse.

How to Deal With Bad Breath

As you may have noticed, there is usually nothing very serious happening when you have bad breath. If you know the causes of bad breath, it would certainly become a lot easier to handle the situation.

However, there are certain situations when it makes sense to talk to your doctor for advice.  For instance, you may have bad breath even when you know you do not eat odor-causing foods. Sometimes, you do not know you have bad breath, so it might help to ask a friend to confirm it for you.

You can always start by improving your oral hygiene habits, and this usually resolves the issue in most cases. Sometimes, making lifestyle changes, like drinking plenty of water and using dental floss, helps a lot. If the problem persists, this could be due to an underlying medical condition, and that is when it is a good idea to go talk to your doctor for assistance. 

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