Having bad breath is a big turn off. Conversing with a person with such condition is excruciating, and inhaling his or her expulsion of unpleasant air is torture beyond belief. And if we are the bearer of bad breath, it is demeaning for us, bringing down our self-esteem and social confidence. There are several means to address the problem of bad breath, but before we can get to this step, we must first identify the conditions that lead to it. So what are the causes of bad breath? Could there be more severe reasons underlying behind it?
Also called as halitosis, bad breath can be caused by the following:
Poor dental habits. Food particles can stay in our mouth and promote bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. The process causes bad breath. According to experts, the bad is caused by "volatile sulfur compounds" in our mouth which are produced by bacteria. The odor causing compounds are found among our teeth, under the top layer of your tongue and in your throat and tonsils. Hence, irregularly brushing and flossing of our teeth can lead to accumulation of these bacteria. Overtime, the bacteria can lead to tooth decay and gum disease which worsens bad breath.
Likewise, bad breath can occur if dentures or dental appliances like braces are not properly cleaned and maintained. Most often it is due to food particles that are not properly cleansed from the appliances. Loose-fitting dentures can contribute to sores and localized infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.
Food. Sometimes, the food we eat can cause bad breath. All the food we eat is broken down in our mouth and eventually digested and absorbed in our bloodstream. They are then conveyed to out lungs and given off in our breath. Some foods, like garlic, onions and other spices, have very strong odors that every mouthwash and brushing cannot dissipate their smell. The odor remains in our breath until the foods have gone through our body. These foods may also cause gastrointestinal upset and belching, which can contribute to bad breath.
Health problems. Bad breath may also be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. This condition results from the accumulation of plaque on teeth and can irritate the gums as bacteria cause toxins to build up on the mouth. If untreated, it can cause serious damage to the gums and jawbone.
The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) can also cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and washing away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by the side effects of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.
Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits. Some habits can also cause bad breath. One of these is smoking or chewing tobacco-based products which can also stain the teeth, irritate the gums, and reduce your inability to taste foods.
Another possible cause of bad breath is low carbohydrate diets. These so-called low carb diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source. As a result, ketones are produced which secretes a fruity acetone-like odor on the breath when exhaled.