Why we have Bad Breath
Bad breath is a common ailment that affects most people on a daily basis. There are a number of factors that play a role in creating bad breath. When we understand these factors, we are able to prevent or combat them.
Factors that lead to Bad Breath
We normally wake up with ‘morning breath’, which is a result of dry mouth. Dry mouth describes the decrease in levels of saliva or saliva production in the mouth. It is one of the main factors that cause bad breath. In the evening and while we sleep, our saliva production levels tend to decrease as we have no need for as much saliva during the night as we do during the day when we consume the most food. This causes our mouth to become dry and allows the odors from bacteria to be released.
Morning breath is inevitable but you can aim to eliminate the worst of it by drinking water when you wake up, and by having brushed and flossed your teeth the night before.
One of the other main factors that cause bad breath, that is under our control, is the food we eat. Onions, garlic and other spices are known to cause bad breath. Additionally, if we do not clean our teeth properly after we have eaten, bacteria can feed off of the food stuck in your teeth and cause a bad smell. The same thing can happen with dentures when they are not cleaned properly. Neglecting your oral hygiene will also lead to bacteria becoming trapped on the surface of your tongue. Wounds in the mouth that are not treated properly can become infected and result in bad breath. Infections of the nose, sinuses or throat has the same effect on your breath.
To combat these factors, it is recommended to be mindful of what you eat, as well as visit the dentist every 6 months and maintain at home dental care.
Diseases, medications and tobacco:
Tobacco products can leave smokers with a particular mouth odour, as the smoke dries out the mouth. Tobacco users are also more likely to develop gum disease, which also contributes to bad breath.
Some diseases, such as certain types of cancers, and metabolic disorders, can cause breath odor as a result of the chemicals they produce in the body. A side effect of some medications can be bad breath.
If smoking, diseases or medications are contributing to your bad breath, chewing sugar free or xylitol gum, as well as keeping hydrated, can help prevent the smell.
Some individuals do suffer from chronic dry mouth, which is the result of an issue with the salivary glands. However, chronic dry mouth can be treated. If you feel you are battling with bad breath, the best thing to do is to seek advice from your dentist.