Bad breath can be quite embarassing and create all sorts of social anxiety. Bad breath can be controlled, but first you need to be aware of what may be causing it.

What Are The Top Causes Of Bad Breath?

Poor Dental Hygiene. Oral bacteria is probably the most common cause of bad breath.  It has the ability to hide in places that you may not reach with just a toothbrush. This includes below the gum line, between your teeth, in the very back of your mouth, and on the tongue. Poor dental hygiene can lead to development of periodontal disease which will exacerbate the bad breath issue. Even if you brush your teeth a couple of times each day and floss, you can never completely remove all of the bacteria from your mouth.  As you eat food, the bacteria break it down into waste products.  These waste products tend to pool at the back of the tongue and release volatile sulfur compounds. These create malodor.   These compounds are called volatile because they evaporate quickly and  create a “rotten egg” smell. Compound this with periodontal disease and the malodor intensifies.

-Diet. This can include foods like curry, onions, and garlic. Ingesting such foods do not only create mouth odor, but can permeate through the pores of the skin . Plant oils are absorbed and the byproducts enter your bloodstream so you are actually breathing the odors out via your lungs three to four hours after eating. Foods that are high in protein such as eggs, milk, and cheese have been linked to bad breath as well.

-Stomach Issues. Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is the name for the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and has been shown to cause bad breath. Sometimes GI problems such as GERD or an ulcer can cause bad breath when you burp and gas is released, or cause higher volatile sulfur compounds to remain at the back of your throat.

-Menstruation. This is quite a common experience for many women. During menstruation, hormones alter the gums and other tissues in the mouth making it easier for bad breath causing bacteria.  Pregnant women may also experience bad breath due to these hormonal changes.

-Medications/Habits. This includes smoking tobacco products and drinking alcohol as well as some prescription drugs.

-Dry Mouth. This appears to cause bad breath by allowing certain bacteria  to overgrow  in your mouth.  This is a major factor in morning breath.  If you are unable to breathe through your nose at night due to a stuffy nose, your mouth can quickly dry out and becoming a breeding ground for those bad breath-causing bacteria.

-Tonsils. It is rare but tonsils can develop what is called a tonsillolith. This is a calcified substance that is caught in the large craters of your tonsils. This can create very bad breath when present.

Infection and Illness. If you have ever had a mouth or sinus infection, you know how bad either can taste or smell. Infections in the body can also cause oral malodor.

Tips To Freshen Breath

-Maintain Good Dental Hygiene. This includes both at home and in office dental care.

-Reduce Dry Mouth. Stay hydrated. Try oil pulling therapy.

-Take care of medical issues. Treat Infections of the body. See a doctor to evaluate ulcers or gastritis. Improve your health and you will see an immediate decrease in bad breath.

-Chew gum with xylitol. Suck on sugar free candy

-Eat yogurt for sweeter breath.

-Try a neutralizing product. Closys is a spray applied to the back of the tongue to neutralize volatile sulfur compounds. Neutralizers don’t mask with mint flavors, they actually remove the problem.

Bad Breath Conclusion

Bad breath is not something anyone should have to live with. For most of us it can be brought under control with a few simple methods. If your bad breath continues even with improved oral hygiene there might be a bigger underlying cause that should be checked by your dentist and physician.