You might think that bad breath, or halitosis, comes mostly from eating foods like garlic and onions. You may be surprised to learn that bacteria in the mouth, especially on the tongue, is one of the biggest bad breath causes. Dentists refer to the sulfur byproducts excreted as waste by oral bacteria as “volatile sulfur compounds” (VSC’s) and it’s their presence in your mouth that causes bad breath. Besides food, bad breath can be caused by poor dental hygiene, tobacco use and some medical conditions.
- Food – Food that collects on and between the teeth can collect bacteria that produce odors.
- Poor Dental Hygiene – Remove plaque, which contains bacteria, from your teeth, gums and tongue every day. Cavities and gingivitis can also cause bad breath.
- Tobacco Use – Smoking can cause chronic bad breath from the build-up of tar and nicotine as well as reduced saliva flow.
- Medical Conditions – Respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbances or liver and kidney ailments can contribute to bad breath problems.
To help get rid of bad breath make sure to brush twice a day and floss daily to remove odor-causing bacteria from the teeth, gums and tongue. Use an antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash to help kill odor-causing bacteria. A clean, plaque-free mouth is critical to maintaining fresh breath.
To Help Keep Breath Fresh Between Brushings Try:
- Rinsing with mouthwash after eating
- Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow
- Snacking on celery, carrots and apples which can help loosen debris
- Eat a nutritious diet – vitamin deficiencies can contribute to bad breath
- Brushing your tongue
See your dental professional if bad breath persists to rule out chronic medical conditions. More often than not bad breath can be conquered by using mouthwash, toothpaste and dental floss every day.