The real reasons behind bad breath
Bad breath, which is medically known as halitosis, can occur for a variety of reasons beyond eating notoriously odorous foods, such as onions and garlic. If you feel self-conscious about your bad breath, there are ways you can prevent it and treat it. Also, a dentist can help diagnose the causes of bad breath and offer treatment.
Bacteria. One of the main culprits behind bad breath is bacteria in your mouth, according to the American Dental Association. Because bacteria feeds on leftover food particles, one of the best ways to eliminate bad breath is to have clean teeth. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, see a dental hygienist for regular teeth cleanings, usually every six months. These cleanings can get into all the tight spots where bacteria develops and help maintain and improve your oral health.
Gum disease. Commonly known as periodontal disease, gum disease is another potential cause of bad breath. When you have poor dental hygiene, plaque can make its way into the space between your teeth and gums. As a result, your gums can pull away from your teeth even more, and create spaces where bacteria develops.
According to the American Dental Association, your dentist can diagnose periodontal disease and refer you to a gum specialist for treatment or surgery, if necessary. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to floss your teeth thoroughly on a regular basis and keep up with your dental cleanings to remove developed plaque.
Dry mouth. Unpleasant odors in your mouth can be a result of dry mouth. Some people suffer from a condition known as xerostomia that leaves the mouth chronically dry. See your dentist to get a prescription for artificial saliva and other suggestions to keep your mouth moist.
If your dentist determines that there are no dental or dietary causes for your bad breath, it might be time to visit a primary care physician to begin investigating other potential causes. People who have cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, sinus infections and lower respiratory infections often experience bad breath as a side effect, according to the Mayo Clinic.