Getting to the Root of Bad Breath

May 16, 2015

One in four people battle with bad breath. They constantly chew on gum or pop mints into their mouth to mask their bad breath. Although these things can mask the problem, it is a good idea to know what is causing it in the first place.

Most cases of bad breath or halitosis are caused by poor dental care. If teeth are not brushed after every meal and flossed at least once a day, the food that is lodged in the mouth will begin to decay and let out foul odours. Bacteria begins to grow and this can slowly lead to gum disease, another cause of bad breath.

Some foods can also cause bad breath. Garlic, onions, cheese, orange juice and soda have been known to be culprits where bad breath is concerned. When these foods are digested, their oils end up in a person’s bloodstream and carried to their lungs. This is how the odour is released through breath.

Bad breath can also be caused by:

A dry mouth. When a mouth is dry, dead cells build up and cause bad breath. This is why people have morning breath. Saliva is a natural cleanser and the lack of it causes a dry mouth. People who sleep with their mouths open, people who smoke or people who are on certain medications are more prone to having dry mouths.

Chronic diseases. Lung infections, kidney failure, liver failure, diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause bad breath.

Respiratory, mouth, throat and nose conditions can also cause bad breath. Someone who is having a discharge from a sinus infection can have bad breath. If a person is having an infection such as bronchitis, the sputum can cause halitosis.

Tobacco can cause dry mouth. Smokers are therefore more prone to bad breath. They can also get gum disease and oral cancers more easily.

To combat bad breath:

Avoid food and drinks that can cause bad breath. Alcohol intake should be cut down too. Teeth should be brushed after every single meal and flossing should be done at least once a day. While brushing, attention should be paid to the tongue. The tongue should be brushed carefully, including the back of the tongue, where bacteria can collect and hide.

Increase in the intake of water helps heaps. Keep it to water as beverages such as sodas and ones that have caffeine are not good for bad breath. Water will keep mouths moist and clean.

The intake of meat should be reduced and the intake of fruits and vegetables should be increased.

A visit to a dentist twice a year is important.

With proper and regular care, halitosis can be cured in many cases. If problems with bad breath persist after following the tips above, the dentist can recommend other care options.