It is one of the major complaint that many have. There are many possible causes of bad breath (often referred to as “halitosis”), often it is caused by poor dental hygiene. Without proper brushing and flossing, food particles and plaque build up on the teeth, gums, and tongue. Bacteria begin to grow and produce bad mouth odors.
Smoking is another leading cause of foul-smelling breath. Tar and nicotine residues coat the teeth, tongue, inside of the mouth, and lungs, making breath especially smelly.
Bad breath can also be caused by tonsillitis, pneumonia, mouth sores, sore throats, sinus infections, and even the common cold. Stomach problems such as heartburn can produce bad breath, and so can certain drugs. When bad breath is associated with a sore throat or with mouth ulcers it may require medical care.
Breathing through the mouth, talking for long periods, or sleeping with the mouth open can dry out the mouth and turn breath sour. Eating garlic, onions, cabbage, or hot and spicy foods can leave breath smelling ripe for a day or so after the meal.
Signs and Symptoms
Constant or recurring bad breath that doesn’t respond to self-care.
Bad breath associated with a new sore throat or mouth sores.
Bad breath from decayed teeth or gum disease.
Most cases of bad breath without mouth sores or a sore throat.
The best way to fix a bad breath problem is to brush up on your dental hygiene. Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least twice a day. See your dentist for an exam and cleaning twice a year.
If your gums bleed when you floss or brush, you may have gum disease (gingivitis), which can cause bad breath. If the condition does not improve after 3 weeks of careful dental hygiene, see your dentist.
Brush the back of your tongue with a soft toothbrush. The tongue, especially far in the back as it goes down your throat, can have bacteria that cause had breath. Studies have shown that people who brush the top and back surface of the tongue as well as the teeth have better breath than people who brush only the teeth.
If you smoke, stop now. You will need to brush your teeth and tongue twice a day for 2 weeks after you stop smoking before the smelly effects of tobacco are out of your system.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dry mouth. Eat apples, citrus fruits, lettuce, and other raw vegetables that cleanse the teeth. Avoid strong smelling foods such as onions, garlic, cabbage, and hot and spicy foods.
Mouthwashes, breath mints, and sprays may mask the odor of bad breath temporarily, but they don’t get at the source of the problem. Avoid sugary breath mints. They can make bad breath worse. (Bacteria thrive on sugar.).
Change your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.