Bad breath, (halitosis) can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Basically, all the food eaten begins to be broken down in your mouth. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing — even mouthwash — merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.
Why Do Poor Habits Cause Bad Breath?
If you don’t brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. Antibacterial mouth rinses also can help reduce bacteria.
If you have un-diagnosed cavities food will lodge here and contribute to the bad breath.
In addition, odor-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.
What Dental Health Problems Are Associated With Bad Breath?
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the build-up of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins to form, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.
Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries (cavities).
The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.
What do I need to do to improve Bad Breath?
- Visit your dentist regularly to check for gum disease and cavities.
- Regular cleanings with the dental hygienist.
- Good tooth-brushing and flossing/ interdental aids. This includes brushing your tongue.
- Mouthwash at a separate time to brushing.
- Sugar free chewing gum and drinking water will help neutralise mouth and wash away plaque.
- Stop smoking.
Occasionally a dentist may think further investigation is needed to source the cause of bad breath and we can refer you on to the correct specialist.