Major Causes of Bad Breath and How You Can Avoid It
After gum disease and tooth decay, halitosis is the third common cause that makes people go to the dentist.
Causes of Halitosis
Several factors can cause halitosis, but the most common cause is poor oral hygiene. Below are some of its potential causes:
- Food – When you eat and fail to brush or floss your teeth, the oral bacteria present in your oral cavity start to breakdown the food particles that are stuck in your teeth, causing odors.
Foods like garlic and onions lead to foul odor when ingested. Their end-products of digestion are absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the lungs, thus affecting a person’s breath.
- Drugs – Some prescribed medications reduce saliva production, therefore, increasing odors, while some generate the odor following their breakdown and chemical release. People who also take large doses of vitamin supplements can develop a bad oral odor.
- Tobacco – Long use of tobacco products can cause the user to have a mouth odor. Furthermore, it raises the chance of developing periodontitis, which is also a significant cause of bad breath.
- Dry mouth – Your saliva is a natural mouth cleaner as it prevents the build-up of odors. If there is low saliva production, your mouth becomes dry naturally, allowing bacteria and food residues to accumulate, eventually resulting in mouth odor.
- Crash diets – Fasting programs and eating foods low in carbohydrates will often lead to halitosis. Mainly because your body will begin to breakdown the fats stored in it, and during the process, chemicals known as ketones get produced. Ketones tend to have an unpleasing strong aroma.
- Foreign body – A foreign object lodged inside the nasal cavity can be a cause of halitosis. This occurrence is common in children.
- Mouth, throat, and nose conditions – The inflammation or infection of the throat, nose, or the sinuses leads to halitosis, and so does bacteria when it forms on your tonsils, which are located at your throat.
- Dental hygiene – Regular flossing and teeth brushing eliminates small food particles that would otherwise build-up and break down slowly, producing odor. Failure to brush your teeth properly creates conditions that are favorable to oral bacteria, thus encouraging the build-up of plaque. Plaque causes gum irritation and teeth inflammation.
- Diseases – Illnesses like GERD, liver failure, and cancers are likely to cause an odor in your oral cavity.
The odor of your breath will vary as it depends on what is causing it. Since it is difficult to assess yourself, you can ask your relative or a friend to gauge the odor of your mouth. If nobody is available, you can check the odor by licking your wrist and allowing it to dry before you smell it. If there is an awful smell on your wrist, you may likely have halitosis.
Phoenix dentists will diagnose halitosis by smelling your breath and rating the odor on an intensity scale of one to six. There are also varieties of detectors used to rate the odor, and they include:
- BANA test – Used to measure the levels of specific enzymes that are produced by the bacteria that cause halitosis.
- Halimeter – It detects sulfur levels.
- Beta-galactosidase test – Beta-galactosidase is an enzyme whose levels have been linked to mouth odor.
- Gas chromatography – With this test, there is a measuring of three compounds of volatile sulfur. They include hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide, and methyl mercaptan.
All Smiles Dental Care offers these tests and gum disease treatment in Phoenix, among other dental services.
Home Remedies for Halitosis
If adopted, home remedies and lifestyle change can help prevent foul breath. They include:
- Flossing: Flossing enables you to get rid of plaque and food particles stuck between your teeth.
- Brushing teeth and the tongue: Dentists recommend brushing your teeth after every meal, and while you are it, clean your tongue too. Dead cells, food, and bacteria tend to build-up on your tongue, especially if you smoke.
- Checking your diet: If you want to prevent halitosis, avoid or limit your consumption of garlic, onions, spices, and sugary foods. It would help if you also lower your alcohol and coffee intake.
- Avoiding a dry mouth: This can be done by drinking water in plenty, sucking sugar-free sweets, or chewing gum. Chewing gum stimulates saliva production, thus rehydrating your mouth.