Bad Breath is also known as Halitosis. It affects everyone at some point in their life. But it is often neglected because of ignorance. Bad breath should be taken seriously because more often than not it happens due to a more serious underlying health problem. It can also lead to a chronic condition. Some of the symptoms of bad breath include bad smell in the mouth, bad taste in the mouth (This is a more serious symptom if the taste doesn’t disappear even if you brush your teeth or use mouthwash).
Causes of Bad breath:
Poor oral hygiene: Taking care of your teeth and mouth is the most basic and the most important way to cure bad breath. Bad breath happens when you don’t brush or floss your teeth at least once a day.
Having strong odorful foods: Eating food items that have unique odor such as onions, garlic, radish etc produce bad odor in the mouth. The food particles mix with the saliva and upon digestion, it enters into the bloodstream and then into the lungs to cause bad breath.
Smoking: While smoking you inhale tobacco products that have a very strong smell that can cause some serious oral infections and lead to gum diseases that cause bad breath.
Dry mouth: This condition is called xerostomia during which the secretion of saliva is decreased leading to bad breath. Usually, dry mouth occurs when you wake up in the morning with bad breath also known as morning breath. It is even worse when you sleep with your mouth open. Dry mouth can also get chronic if left untreated. Some medications can cause a foul smell in your mouth causing bad breath by causing dry mouth.
Presence of plaque on the teeth: the food particles stuck in between the teeth forming plaque filled pockets that can cause irritation to the gum and lead to a condition called periodontitis. This can make the tongue produce bad odors. Dentures that are ill-fitted can also lead to food particles getting stuck and produce odor filled bacteria which can also cause infection if ignored.
Sinus infection, Postnasal drainage, Chronic bronchitis: These are some conditions during the suffering of which bad breath happens. Small stones are present in the tonsils that are filled with bacteria which cause bad breath to happen. Chronic condition of Nose, sinuses or throat leads to Postnasal drip which causes bad breath.
Other causes: Some diseases such as kidney infections, diabetes, Gastroesophageal reflux disorder, Asthma can cause bad breath too.
Diseases such as lung cancer also cause bad breath which can later lead to detrimental effects if left untreated.
While some of the causes listed are part of daily life, the others are a byproduct of another serious ailment. It is advised not to leave such a condition untreated because if so, it can lead to cancer and many serious conditions. Since always, prevention is better than cure, there are many ways to prevent bad breath from happening to you. Some of them are:
- Brush your teeth twice every day
- Floss every time you eat a food item that’s rigid, fibrous and hard and that you think may sit between your teeth
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash every night
- Use a tongue scraper
- Stay hydrated
- Quit smoking
- Replace toothbrushes as and when the bristles get too used
- Schedule a dental appointment every 6 months