While many people experience bad breath every once in a while, for some it’s a daily issue. According to Harvard Health, approximately 30% of the population complains of problems with bad breath. Products such as gum, mints and mouthwash may offer temporary solutions, but don’t tackle the root cause.
Bad breath, known medically as halitosis, can happen both inside and outside the mouth. Bad breath happens because of bacteria on the teeth and tongue. Odors vary depending on the cause, which can be difficult to assess.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 5 common causes of bad breath are:
1. Certain Types of Food
Products like onions, garlic, spices, and spicy food are likely to give you bad breath. The breakdown of food particles can increase bacteria, causing a bad odor to form. When these foods are digested and enter your bloodstream, they are then carried to your lungs and are more likely to affect your breath.
2. Tobacco Products
Tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco can stain your teeth and cause their own repelling odor. In addition, tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, which is another source of bad breath.
3. Poor Dental Hygiene
When you don’t take proper care of your oral health, food remains in your mouth. Food that stays on your teeth, gums and tongue can rot. A bacteria called plaque can form on your teeth, and if not brushed away it could irritate your gums and form plaque-filled pockets. Similarly, dentures that aren’t cleaned frequently can trap food particles in the harbor bacteria.
4. Dry Mouth
Saliva helps clean your mouth and helps remove particles that can cause bad odors. Dry mouth means less saliva is being produced, which can contribute to bad breath. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, which can be the cause of ‘morning breath,’ and can worsen if you sleep with your mouth open. Chronic dry mouth can result from a problem with your salivary glands and some other diseases.
5. Other Mouth and Throat Conditions
Occasionally, bad breath can stem from small stones that form in the tonsils. These stones are covered in bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat can also cause bad breath.
For more information on bad breath, including treatment and prevention, visit www.Mayoclinic.com.