Halitosis is a medical term for bad breath can cause embarrassment and may also result in anxiety. This is where various companies come into play offering branded mouthwashes and mints for fighting bad breath. But these work only temporarily and do not solve the problem of bad breath permanently.
Some of the main reasons for bad breath can be unhygienic diet, improper dental health, bronchitis, food habits, diseases and pregnancy. Some simple remedies or antiseptic mouthwashes can give relief from bad breath. However, if the condition of bad breath worsens, then a doctor needs to be consulted.
Reasons Why Your Breath Smells Bad
#1. Your Diet
Food is the chief perpetrator for bad breath. The chewed and broken down particles of food get stuck in the teeth, which results in increased dental plaque and bacterial growth resulting in bad breath. Strongly flavored food items like certain types of cheese, exotic spices, garlic and onions are other reasons that cause bad breath. Once the food gets digested, it enters the bloodstream and is taken to the lungs and therefore affects the breath. Some drinks like alcohol and coffee that have a strong smell can leave an aftertaste in the mouth and cause your breath to smell bad.
Diets that are low in carbohydrate may also be one of the reasons for “ketone breath.” Such diets cause the body fat to burn as the energy source. The end product of this breakdown is ketones. This results in a fruity odor in the exhaled breath. Such kind of breath in diabetics indicates high blood sugar levels.
Such kind of bad breaths are temporary and can be controlled if such food and beverages are avoided more often.
Chewing tobacco or smoking is another reason that can cause bad breath due to residual chemicals inside the mouth. The nicotine and tar from the cigarettes are the chemicals that can stick to places like the teeth, gums, tongue and side of the cheeks resulting in bad breath. Other reasons for causing bad breath like gum diseases are worsened by tobacco and cause more bad breath.
Smoking can also cause your breath to smell bad because it dries the mouth. Smoking hinders the continuous flow of saliva and therefore the mouth does not get cleansed and hence the bad breath. This results in the multiplication of specific bacteria in the mouth resulting in constant stench in the breath. Since the saliva cannot move freely, it cannot wash away the bacteria growing in the mouth and this becomes the reason for bad breath. Besides giving bad breath, smoking also leads to cavities and yellowing of the teeth. Smoking raises the warmth in the mouth, which causes damage and also kills the tissue cells in the mouth. Thus, these tissues lose their capability of protecting the mouth effectively resulting in the free movement of bacteria across the mouth. The situation can further worsen from bad breath to give rise to grave problems related to oral hygiene.
Besides being an agent for bad breath, smoking also irritates the gums, tints the stains teeth as well as decreases the sensation of taste. Tobacco mixes the blood and flows in the system of the body, which restricts the immune system from fighting infections efficiently. The growth of blood vessels is also hindered.
#3. Dry Mouth
Xerostomia or dry mouth generally takes place when saliva production goes down. This causes trouble while speaking or a sore throat and if it continues then it becomes a reason for causing your breath to smell bad. This is because the saliva works in flushing bacteria as well as food particle remnants in and around the teeth. If this saliva dries up, then the bacteria do not get flushed out and it keeps building up. The particles are broken down by the bacteria producing a foul odor. A number of reasons lead to a dry mouth. These include antihistamines, diuretics, blood pressure, sleeping with mouth open, radiation treatments and any disease related to the salivary glands. Other reasons for dry mouth can be anxiety, depression and stress. If dry mouth is persistent and not treated at the right time, then it may also cause tooth decay, cavities, facing trouble while talking or eating and to the extent of losing teeth.
Dry mouth can be alleviated with chewing of diabetic gum, which helps in stimulating saliva without the coating of excess sugars on the teeth. Consuming lots of water and reducing caffeine as a part of the diet decreases the possibility of suffering from a dry mouth.
#4. Bad Dental Hygiene
Maintaining dental hygiene is a must for preventing bad breath. Brushing and flossing daily helps to clean up all the food particles that remain stuck in between the teeth resulting in a foul odor. Plaque is a sticky and colorless bacteria film that coats the teeth. If this plaque doesn’t get brushed away, it has the potential to cause irritation in the gums and is a reason for causing bad breath. The plaque then hardens, which is referred to as tartar or calculus. Tartar shelters the bacteria which irritates the gums and then leads to gum diseases. Gingivitis is the mild version of gum diseases. If it is not cured in time then it may lead to periodontitis. In periodontitis plaque-filled cavities are created in between the gums and the teeth. The tongue can also be inhabited by bacteria, because of its rough surface, which will eventually emit odors. Half-heartedly cleaned dentures can give refuge to food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath. Everybody should have dental checkups on a daily basis to avoid any such condition of bad breath or poor oral hygiene.
A number of medications can indirectly affect the breath. Some medications can cause dry mouth giving rise to bad breath. Some other medications are further broken down by the various processes of the body, which releases chemicals. These chemicals need an outlet, which they get in the form of the mouth in bad breath. Thus, when these chemicals are carried on, they carry with themselves their foul smell. Some medications that do cause your breath to smell bad include: nitrates, tranquillizers (phenothiazines), some chemotherapy medications, antihistamines, diuretics and antidepressants.
Fluctuating Hormones Cause Bad Breath In Pregnancy: Pregnant woman may have problems regarding bad breath. This may occur due to varied reasons such as firstly, bad breath in pregnant women can be a result of fluctuating levels of hormones in the course of development of the fetus. Changes in the levels of hormones such as progesterone and estrogen increase the production of plaque in the teeth during pregnancy. The plaque that is produced contains bacteria, which in turn produces sulphur on coming in contact with food. Too much plaque leads to gingivitis which can harm the tissues of the gum and cause your breath to smell bad.
Dehydration Causes Bad Breath In Pregnancy: Secondly, the pregnant women may get dehydrated because of the fetal consumption of water and this becomes a reason for causing bad breath. A pregnant woman needs to drink enough water so that it is sufficient for both the mother and the growing baby. In case there is a lack of it, it causes bad breath. Pregnant women need more water for the formation of the saliva and so that it is able to wash off the bacteria emitting the bad breath and the remnant particles of food. Saliva is rich in oxygen and bacteria cannot thrive in such situations and thus it assists in controlling bad breath.
Morning Sickness Causes Bad Breath in Pregnancy: Thirdly, a majority of women who are pregnant go through morning sickness. This happens between periods of 6-12 weeks during pregnancy. Morning sickness involves nausea and vomiting which is a vital cause bad breath in pregnant women. They experience the foul odor of partly digested food as well the acids from the stomach, expelled from the mouth resulting in bad breath. It is suggested to such women to brush and clean their mouth thoroughly after vomiting. This will eliminate the bacteria along with the bad breath.
Calcium Deficiency Causes Bad Breath in Pregnancy: Fourthly, an excess amount of calcium is required by a pregnant woman for sustaining herself and the fetus. If there is a deficiency in calcium intake, then the body uses up the calcium from the bones and teeth, which can result in bad breath.
Dietary Changes Causing Bad Breath in Pregnancy: Fifthly, the woman goes through a lot of changes when it comes to food habits and diet. Pregnant women tend to consume more of sweets and fulfilling their cravings for food and all this may cause bad breath because such habits encourage plaque buildup, which causes the breath to smell bad.
Slow Digestion Causes Bad Breath in Pregnancy: Lastly, the rate at which the digestion process works actually slows down to a great extent because of pregnancy. This leads to building up of gas in the stomach resulting in burping and finally causing bad breath.
#7. Certain Medical Conditions
Various diseases can be held responsible for bad breath. Some of them are respiratory tract infections like bronchitis or pneumonia or infections such as chronic sinusitis. Other diseases which can cause bad breath include diabetes, chronic acid reflux, problems pertaining to kidney or liver and postnasal drip.
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