Bad breath is one of the most common dental problems. This concern can signify a more serious health problem, and can also be the source of a great deal of embarrassment for the sufferer. A person with bad breath may find it difficult to mingle with other people, both on a personal and a professional manner, for fear that others will get a sample of the unpleasant breath smell. Knowing what causes bad breath problems can help with its prevention, and may also be helpful in looking for a cure to this embarrassing dental issue.
One of the main causes of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. If regular tooth brushing is not practiced, pieces of food will be left on surfaces of teeth and on inner mouth areas. These food pieces will interact with the bacteria naturally found inside the mouth and in saliva, and will cause a foul smell. The issue is aggravated when strong-smelling food items (such as onions and garlic) are consumed, followed by a long period of time without brushing the teeth. Not using dental floss can also contribute to bad breath, because the spaces in between the teeth and the gum line can also hide food pieces that need to be removed to ensure that the entire mouth is kept clean and smelling fresh.
Gum problems and other infections inside the mouth can cause bad breath. Gum disease leads to the breakdown of gum tissue because of bacteria, and the bacteria can result to a foul smell emanating from inside the mouth. Other infections such as mouth ulcers or mouth sores, especially those with pus, will result to a bad smell that can further be worsened if good oral hygiene is not followed. Regular checkups with the dentist will help detect gum problems in their earliest stages so they can be treated accordingly; regular hygiene appointments can provide a long-term solution to bad breath problems.
Cigarette and tobacco smoking makes the breath smell foul for hours, often even after tooth brushing is done afterwards. Another concern that leads to a bad breath situation is having a dry mouth problem. Saliva washes away food debris and keeps the mouth moistened; of saliva production is decreased, the mouth goes dry and becomes a god breeding ground for bad breath-causing bacteria. A dry mouth can be caused by breathing through the mouth, or by taking certain medications. The bad breath can also originate not from the mouth, but from the gastrointestinal tract; those who suffer from chronic acid reflux disease are more prone to developing bad breath problems.