Bad Breath

Bad Breath: Its Causes and How it can be Prevented

Bad breath is a topic which most people may find unpleasant to discuss but it must be discussed nonetheless. Why? Simply because as least 30 million Americans have it and no one is immune to it. This explains why Americans spend $3 to $4 billion each year for oral care products. Therefore it is important to know what causes bad breath so that from these causes, we would learn the ways on how to prevent it.

The primary cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Dentists and even commercial ads recommend that we should brush our teeth 2 times a day for at least 2 minutes (some say 3 minutes). This is not enough, though. We still have to use other dental products such as dental floss and mouthwash. Why? Tooth brushing may still leave food particles in our mouth especially in between our teeth since toothbrush cannot clean the entire surface area of the teeth especially the cavities. These food particles will decompose. And like other decomposing matter on earth, food particles inside our mouth emit unpleasant odor. Food particles that remain in between teeth can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Plaque buildup emits bad odor. Tooth decay can open some spaces around the dentures that will accommodate more food particles that can cause bad breath, not to mention the odor the decaying teeth emits.

Another cause of bad breath is the food we eat. There are certain vegetables and spices containing pungent oil (cabbage, garlic and onion are some of these) that when digested will mix to our bloodstream. It will then go to different parts of our body including our lungs. The pungent oil is released to our mouth. Bad breath caused by these foods will disappear when the oil is completely removed from our system.

On the opposite note, skipping meals and dieting can as well trigger bad breath. This is because chewing increases the production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away and cleanse bacteria inside our mouth thus it helps keep our breath fresh.

The production of saliva stops when we sleep; the reason why we wake up in the morning with the “morning breath” even if we brush our teeth and use oral antiseptic the night before.

Smoking tobacco and other medication also contribute to the occurrence of bad breath. Nasal, throat, and mouth conditions such as nasal discharge, canker sores, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, mononucleosis, tonsillitis, strep throat, and sinus infection can also become the reason for bad breath. Medical condition such as liver failure, lung infection, kidney failure, gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatal hernia can cause bad breath.

Learning the causes of bad breath, it is now easy to determine how it can be prevented. First, a practice of good oral hygiene is very important. This will keep our mouth clean and fresh; free from food particles that can destroy the teeth and create bad breath. It is also important to keep a relatively new dental supply. Replace toothbrush every 3-4 months.

Drinking water will help cleanse the mouth and wash away bacteria that can cause bad breath.

Visiting the dentist regularly will keep our dentures healthy and well-maintained.

Other ways to prevent bad breath:

• Do not smoke
• Keep a healthy lifestyle to prevent internal diseases.
• Chew sugar-free chewing gums to stimulate salivary glands to produce more saliva.
• Eat less meat.