Bad breath is not only embarrassing; it can be a sign of underlying dental issues that need to be addressed. Though many people turn to products like gum, mints, and mouthwash, these products can sometimes only serve as temporary relief for bad breath.
Relatively Common Causes of Bad Breath
So what causes bad breath? Some causes seem like they might be common sense; however, thinking about all possibilities might lead you to find a solution.
Poor Dental Hygiene
Of course, one of the major causes of bad breath is a lack of dental hygiene. When people neglect brushing and flossing, food particles build up between the teeth and gums, causing bad breath. It’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day, preferably at night.
Talk to your dentist if you have trouble flossing. You might need to look into flossing alternatives like the use of a Waterpik or easy-reach flosser.
If you still experience bad breath after brushing and flossing, make sure you also brush your tongue. Bacteria can coat your tongue and cause bad breath, even if you’ve brushed and flossed around the tongue. If you notice a white film over your tongue, that’s the bacteria you’ll need to worry about.
However, sometimes you can maintain perfect dental hygiene and still suffer from bad breath. In this case, you might have deeper issues to address.
Even if you keep food particles from collecting in your mouth, certain pungent foods like onions and garlic can cause bad breath just from eating and digesting them. When you eat foods like these, digesting them causes their odor to enter your lungs and come through your breath. This might happen especially if your body does not digest these foods as easily because of a stomach or digestive issue.
If you’re very worried about bad breath, be careful about what foods you eat, and avoid foods that cause an odor to appear in your breath.
When your mouth gets too dry, there isn’t enough saliva to cleanse the mouth of particles that cause bad breath. You can combat this problem by drinking plenty of water, sleeping with your mouth closed, and rinsing with specialized mouthwash to help with dry mouth.
However, dry mouth can also be a symptom of issues with your salivary glands or even some diseases. So, if dry mouth persists, make sure to visit your dentist to find out if there are pervasive problems causing your dry mouth and bad breath.
If you take certain types of medications, they might cause bad breath in an indirect way by causing dry mouth. Or, sometimes medications break down after you take them in a way that causes odor to show up in your breath.
More Serious Causes of Bad Breath
Though many times bad breath occurs because of a harmless and easy-to-fix reason, sometimes bad breath can be a sign of deeper problems that you absolutely should check out with your dentist.
If you think you might be dealing with a deeper issue, don’t be afraid to reach out for help, as diagnosing earlier rather than later is key.
If you have persistent bad breath, you might have an infection in your mouth. Especially if you’ve had a recent mouth surgery or procedure, make sure to contact your dentist or dental surgeon to check on your progress if your bad breath continues to plague you.
Should you notice sores or a clear infection and need emergency dental services, contact your local dentist right away.
Ear, Nose, Mouth, Throat Conditions
You can also suffer from bad breath from conditions like stones in the tonsils covered in bacteria or other conditions in the sinuses. Sometimes those conditions cause post-nasal drip, which can then cause bad breath.
If you think you might have sinus problems, contact your general practitioner or an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.
Bad breath can be a sign of other diseases as well. For example, some stomach inflammatory diseases and conditions like acid reflux and GERD can cause bad breath from digestive issues.
Meanwhile, bad breath can be a sign of some cancers as well. If you have bad breath and have not been able to find a cause, visit a doctor, and test for possible issues like these.
Investigate Before Overreacting
Though bad breath can certainly point to more sinister problems with your health, you should not immediately assume you have any of these problems.
Make sure you take a look at your dental hygiene practices and fill any gaps in that practice first. Then, visit your dentist or doctor if you think something else might be going on. Be persistent with finding the cause of your bad breath, but don’t overreact or find all the terrible possibilities online before visiting a professional.
If you visit a dentist or doctor and find there might be underlying problems, don’t panic. You will be in capable hands. In the meantime, utilize mouthwashes that fight bad breath, and make sure you are flossing and brushing properly, including your tongue.