Occasional bad breath is normal. In fact, everyone has bad breath from time to time after eating a particularly garlic or onion-laden meal. While bad breath can be embarrassing, it’s usually nothing to worry about as long as you practice good oral hygiene. But if you find that your breath is offensively stinky the majority or all of the time, then you should make an effort to identify what’s causing your bad breath.
Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, can have a myriad of different potential causes. Oftentimes, halitosis is merely a symptom of other potential factors and can sometimes be the result of multiple underlying conditions or variables.
Here are some of the most common causes of bad breath and what you can do to get rid of it.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene or a total lack of a proper dental care routine altogether can lead to bad breath caused by harmful bacteria that results in tooth decay and gum disease. Throughout the day, food will inevitably get trapped between your teeth and gums. It’s important to thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening—to prevent plaque and tartar formation caused by these food particles. Additionally, you should be flossing your teeth as part of your nightly oral hygiene routine. Flossing helps remove excess food particles from between your teeth and gums that you may have missed while brushing.
Excess food particles and bacteria that’s left behind in your mouth eventually begins to rot and decay your oral health altogether. It’s that decay that can cause a permanent or semi-permanent stench in your mouth.
By that same token, what you choose to eat and drink as part of your diet can also directly cause food decay. Certain foods and beverages like citrus fruits, sodas, coffee and tea can eat away at your tooth enamel, which is a protective layer that prevents your teeth from getting infected by harmful bacteria. As mentioned, odorous foods like garlic, onions and various spices can linger for long periods of time in your mouth. The reason for this is because their odours become absorbed in your bloodstream and infiltrate your lungs so that when you breathe in or out, those odours are being released as noxious gases. The only way to avoid bad breath caused by certain foods or beverages is to avoid consuming those items. Alternatively, you could start brushing and flossing your teeth after every meal.
Morning breath is also perfectly normal and everyone has it. When you sleep for an extended period of time—most people sleep for 8 hours—your body’s saliva production slows down or stops altogether. Saliva helps keep your mouth moist which can also prevent bacterial infection. Lack of adequate saliva production can create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
Unfortunately, there’s no direct approach to prevent this from happening. The only way to combat morning breath is to practice excellent oral hygiene by brushing your teeth before and after sleep. Even if you’re just taking a short nap, you can still get morning breath, so be sure to take the necessary precautions.
Chronic halitosis or bad breath can also be a symptom of an underlying health issue like gum disease, which occurs when the tissue around your teeth becomes infected. While gum disease can be caused by a lack of oral health care, people with a family history of oral infections or periodontitis can also be susceptible to developing gum disease at some point in their lives.
If diagnosed in its early stages, gum disease is highly treatable and reversible through in-depth daily oral care that includes regular brushing, flossing, the use of mouth wash and routine dental cleanings. Aside from chronic bad breath, other symptoms of gum disease include red, inflamed and tender bleeding gums. If your gums bleed every time you touch them or brush your teeth, then this is a sign of more advanced gum disease, periodontitis.
Smoking and Drinking Frequently
On their own, smoking and drinking frequently can cause a plethora of potentially serious oral damage that lead to chronic bad breath. But when they’re routinely done in combination with one another, these two bad habits can wreak total havoc on your oral health.
As you already know, smoking releases thousands upon thousands of toxic chemicals into your lungs, bloodstream and even the air you breathe. After entering your system, these toxins are then delivered to and absorbed by your internal organs and bodily tissue including your skin and gums. Toxins from smoking deoxygenate the bloodstream, preventing it from delivering necessary nutrients and oxygen to other parts of your body.
Alcohol, regardless of its strength or category, is a diuretic. Diuretics are essentially any type of substance that promote increased urine production, which can cause rapid water weight loss and dehydration. Dehydration leads to lack of saliva production, which ultimately causes prolonged dry mouth. Hence, frequently consuming alcohol has a massive domino effect on various aspects of your health, including your teeth. As mentioned, lack of saliva production can cause for bacteria to multiply.
Dry mouth can be caused by a number of factors including frequently imbibing alcohol, not drinking enough water and not getting enough electrolytes in your system. Two of the most common causes of dry mouth though, are mouth-breathing and certain medications. Anything that slows down or completely stops your body’s saliva production can lead to mild or severe dry mouth. If this is something you experience frequently, then you should talk to your doctor about your personal habits or certain medications you’re taking to try and find a long-term solution.
Improper Care of Dentures
Dentures are essentially like surrogate or replacement teeth and should therefore be cared for to the same extent. Although dentures require special care, you should make sure to clean them thoroughly after each meal to remove food particles that may get stuck in them.
Need more information and tips on preventing or fighting off chronic bad breath?
Making an appointment at Princeview Dental Group in Etobicoke can help. Located in the heart of The Kingsway neighbourhood, we provide teeth cleaning, whitening and other oral health procedures. Contact us today to learn more!