Why Do People Get Bad Breath?

We have all at one time or another experienced bad breath, or medically termed, halitosis.  Unfortunately, some people may not know that they have it, but why do people get bad breath?  It’s an awkward situation when someone you know has chronic bad breath and you aren’t sure how to tell him or her.  In actuality, bad breath could not just come from the onions your friend ate; it could be something actually wrong with their system.

why-do-people-get-bad-breathBad breath usually stems from not brushing and flossing enough.  When food sits on your teeth, gums and tongue, bacteria thrives on it and causes odors to start forming.  This is easy enough to resolve.  Try as much as possible to brush your teeth after meals and floss at least once a day.  The one thing that people are missing is brushing their tongue.  Tongues are tricky little organs due to the fact that they have numerous taste buds and papillae that trap food particles and bacteria.  Some people even have cracks and crevices in their tongue that make for even worse food traps.  If you suffer from bad breath, try brushing your tongue first and see if that helps.  There are things called tongue scrapers that have a saw blade pattern to them that can help you scrape debris from your tongue. You would be surprised at what comes off of your tongue when you use these little gadgets. There are also special brushes and special cleaning liquids that are made to help clean the tongue, but in general, using your toothbrush works just as well.

Obviously, we equate bad breath with eating something strong like onions, garlic or spicy foods.  Foods begin to break down in your mouth and end up being absorbed into your blood stream, which then feeds your lungs.  So, when you eat something like, garlic, for instance, you may smell like garlic for a while until it is through your system.  Obviously, things like that can’t be helped unless you swear off garlic.  Try to drink a lot of water with your spicy meal to help it hydrate through your system.

Another problem adding to bad breath is smoking or chewing tobacco.  Now is the time to quit.  Ask your dentist or hygienist for suggestions on kicking the habit.

Bad breath can also come from having periodontal disease or even a cavity or cracked tooth.  The best way to handle this situation is to see your dentist regularly.  Having a dental cleaning and then brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day can cure beginning stages of periodontal disease.  If your periodontal disease has progressed beyond the beginning stages, having your teeth cleaned more regularly can keep it in check and maintain it so you aren’t getting pass the point of no return.

Cavities start from bacteria and generally the enamel is eaten away from the tooth, which can cause food to get stuck, causing bad breath.  Also, a cracked tooth can harbor bacteria causing the same problem.  At Szmanda Dental, we recommend having your teeth cleaned twice a year if you are in good periodontal health and having the dentist check your teeth also twice a year for any problems.

There are other things that are more systemic that can cause bad breath.  Things like acid reflux, medications, diabetes, kidney problems, lung infections, postnasal drip, and enlarged tonsils, to name a few.  If you feel that your bad breath does not improve with your best effort in dental hygiene and your dentist gives you the thumbs up for everything checking out orally, you may want to get checked out by your medical doctor for other problems.

There are numerous things that can cause bad breath, so start with some easy solutions first to see if they help.

  • Brush your teeth and tongue and floss more frequently.

  • Use antibacterial mouthwash to help kill off those little bacteria bugs.

  • If you aren’t able to brush right after a meal, drink a glass of water to help clear out bacteria and food particles.

  • Try to eat fruit or vegetables that have a high water content like apples or celery after your meal.

  • Chew sugarless gum.

  • Stop smoking or chewing.

  • See your dentist regularly for check-ups!

At Szmanda Dental Center, we would love to address any questions you have about halitosis or any other dental inquiry you have.  Don’t be afraid to bring up any questions or concerns that you have about your dental health to your hygienist or dentist.  That is what we are here for!  Schedule your next cleaning today.

Information compiled from WebMD and Staff at Szmanda Dental Center  © Szmanda Dental Center, S.C. 2013

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