Bad breath or halitosis is something we’ve all suffered from at some point, but where does it come from? Bad breath can come from many different odor-causing reactions within your mouth, some are mundane and others can be signs of more serious conditions. For the most part, bad breath is a result of waste material from bacteria or chemical reactions from sulfur laden foods like garlic and onions. As bacteria digest food remnants and other particles they also release sulfur compounds responsible for the unpleasant odor.
Where Does Bad Breath Come From?
For the most part, bad breath or mouth odor results from waste material from bacteria or chemical reactions from sulfur-laden foods like garlic and onions.
When you forget to brush or fail to brush properly, food particles linger in your mouth. As bacteria digest food remnants and other particles, they release sulfur compounds responsible for the unpleasant odor. The back of your tongue has several grooves and serves as a good hiding place for bacteria to grow. A regular toothbrush won’t reach these places, which is exactly why you also need to use a good antibacterial mouthwash, like AO Pro Rinse regularly to neutralize bacteria and remove mouth odor.
Besides food particles being digested by bacteria, there are certain types of foods that are especially problematic. These odor-causing foods include onion, garlic, spices, and certain types of vegetables. Particularly vegetables from the allium family, just like garlic, and onion, include high levels of sulfur-compounds. Fortunately, there are foods that can help prevent bad breath.
A side effect of consuming these is that you produce allicin, a chemical responsible for garlic's characteristic smell. Mouth odor from garlic can stay for up to two days. Good oral care and dental hygiene can help ensure others can’t tell you’ve had garlic at lunch.
More Reasons Bad Breath Occurs
While most bad breath is caused by bacteria and food particles, mouth odor can also occur due to other changes in the body.
Medical Conditions That Cause Bad Breath
Infections, diabetes, liver problems, and kidney failure are just some of the medical reasons you can have bad breath. In some cases, mouth odor can also be a symptom of cancer or metabolic disorder.
Many kinds of prescribed medications cause dry mouth. Lack of saliva in your mouth will contribute to mouth odor. That’s why drinking lots of water with such medications is a common piece of medical advice you’ll have already come across. Staying hydrated can compensate for the loss of saliva caused by these medicines.
Certain medicines also release odor-causing chemicals upon breaking down. When they're absorbed into your bloodstream and reach your lungs, they're released as bad breath.
Digestive problems that Cause Bad Breath
Digestive problems, like constipation and bowel disorders, can also result in mouth odor. Acid reflux can also cause odors from the food that you recently consumed to move its way back up through your digestive tract and bring bad breath.
Dry mouth or xerostomia can contribute to bad breath; this is especially true for smokers. In normal conditions, saliva keeps your mouth clean of food particles that cause bad breath. With the lack of saliva in your mouth, which naturally happens while you sleep, bad breath is a common side effect. Make sure you follow regular oral care & dental hygiene routine in the morning to get rid of the odors.
Post Nasal Drip
Post nasal drip involves mucus secretions from your nose and throat. According to medical advice, this is a common cause of bad breath. The secretions are a favorite treat for bacteria. Post nasal drip causes bacteria to grow, which in turn results in mouth odor. Dairy products, like milk and yogurt, can also result in the thickening of mucus. The thick mucus creates a white layer on your tongue and contributes to mouth odor.
Other Reasons for Bad Breath
Other common reasons for bad breath include stress, stress eating, snoring, and hormonal changes. Some of these causes of bad breath are unfortunately unavoidable, but there are some things you can do to prevent bad breath.
How To Prevent Bad Breath
One of the most beneficial ways to prevent bad breath is to improve your oral hygiene regimen. While it can’t improve your bad breath for some of these other causes, a healthy smile has been shown to improve your overall health as well as your oral health. Here are a few things you can do to improve your oral health and help prevent bad breath.
Brush Brush Brush
Bleeding or infected gums are a sign of periodontitis, or gum disease. Gum disease is the most common oral health issue and can also be a huge culprit of halitosis. To help prevent gum disease you should brush and floss every day. Furthermore, it's important that you visit the dentist regularly so they can remove all the buildup of plaque that might be causing your gum issues. You should also consider using a soft bristled brush with a small brush head so you can reach all those hard to reach spaces that you might be missing now. It’s also important that you brush or scrape your tongue to remove the bacteria found there too, especially at the very back!
Watch Your Sugar Intake
Sugar is like racing fuel for bacteria, they love to eat it and increasing your sugar intake will usually result in halitosis eventually too. Sugar can also cause cavities which can also lead to bad breath.
Hydrate to Prevent Bad Breath
As we all know it's vital for us to drink plenty of water. But what you might not know is water can also help prevent bad breath. The act of drinking water can help wash away odor causing bacteria, but also can help with saliva production, which can help prevent dry mouth and wash away bacteria even more!
We've touched on this already, but smoking is not only bad for your overall health, but it can harm your oral tissues and also can be a prime source of bad breath. So count mouth odor as one small side effect of tobacco products, among other more detrimental health risks.
All kinds of tobacco products cause mouth odor. Other than cigarette smoking, chew and pipe will also cause bad breath. Using tobacco products irritates your oral tissue, increases your likelihood of having gum disease, and can be a cause of dry mouth which is another way for odor causing bacteria to thrive. If you don’t want bacteria to grow inside your mouth, quit smoking!
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