Bad breath or halitosis is a condition in which a person emanates an unattractive odour from their mouth. Simple. We've all been there.
The everyday “morning breath” most people wake up with is not halitosis. Neither is the five minutes of bad breath you’ll experience after eating the occasional spice-heavy exotic meal. Halitosis symptoms include a persistent smell that does not go away after brushing, flossing and rinsing. It can be demoralizing and embarrassing, so much so that many people are reluctant to even mention it to their dentist. But it’s also fairly common, and thus, quite treatable
↪️What causes bad breath?
Bad breath has a number of possible causes: cavities, gum disease, cracked fillings and dentures. Then there are the dietary factors; high-protein/low-carbohydrate diets, acidic foods, sweets and, of course, a steady fare of onions and garlic can all contribute to bad breath. Don't forget about coffee, alcohol and tobacco, as users run an even higher risk. Since most cases of halitosis originate from inside the mouth, your first step should be a re-evaluation of your basic brushing and rinsing technique. While cleaning the teeth is necessary, extra focus should go to the tongue—this is where a large amount of the bad breath causing bacteria lives.
↪️Frequently Asked Questions
➡️Can bad breath signal a health problem?
✔️Yes. Persistent bad breath may be a by-product of other medical conditions. Slightly fruity breath that isn’t wholly pleasant or offensive is a tell-tale sign of diabetes, while a strong, ammonia scent has been linked to kidney disease.
Periodontal diseases like gingivitis can cause bad breath because of the excess bacteria in the mouth. And dry mouth, which causes a decrease in saliva, leaves your mouth unable to naturally flush bacteria and food particles from your teeth and gums before they break down and start to decay.
If you’re worried your bad breath might be a sign of a bigger issue, or if you’re just unable to control it yourself by brushing, flossing and rinsing, talk to your dentist.
➡️Why do I have bad breath at all times?
✔️Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins to form, which irritate the gums. Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) can also cause bad breath.
➡️How can I get rid of my bad breath?
- Avoid foods that sour your breath. (Garlic, onion)
- Scrape your tongue more often.
- Brush and floss more often.
- Rinse your mouth with a minty, antibacterial mouthwash.
- Use chewing gums.
- Drink enough water.
- See your dentist, if your bad breath still persists.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.