Almost 2.5% of the adult population suffers from halitosis, the medical name for bad breath. What causes bad breath, and how can you fix it? Continue reading to learn more!
What is halitosis?
It’s important to say that bad breath is just a symptom, and that there can be many different causes for halitosis, but we’ll get into that later.
Halitosis is usually caused by bacteria that lives (mostly) on your tongue and produces sulphur. These bacteria can sometimes break down proteins left over from meals extremely quickly, releasing volatile sulphur compounds, which smell bad.
Morning breath is not halitosis, and neither is the bad breath you can experience after eating a particularly spicy or garlicky meal. Halitosis is a “persistent, unpleasant odour in exhaled breath”; persistent being the key word.
What causes bad breath?
- Poor oral hygiene and gum disease
Because most cases of halitosis are caused by bacteria, it makes sense to start by looking at your own mouth. Lack of good oral hygiene routines will let harmful bacteria flourish between your teeth, on your tongue, and elsewhere in your mouth.
- Dry mouth
Having a dry mouth – also known as xerostomia – can cause bad breath because saliva is your body’s natural teeth cleaner. Saliva neutralises acids in the mouth and remineralise teeth after eating food, but this can’t happen when you have a dry mouth.
Dry mouth itself can be caused by a number of things. For example: medications, medical conditions, breathing through the mouth, drinking alcohol, being dehydrated, or high stress levels can be contributing factors to halitosis.
Smoking cigarettes, using chewing tobacco and other tobacco products can be a big contributor to bad breath because it will essentially starve your mouth of clean oxygen. Tobacco products will also stain your teeth, irritate your gums, and reduces your ability to taste food.
These are far from the only causes of halitosis, though. Other causes range from acid reflux and more serious medical issues like kidney faily and biochemical disorders. While these are plausible causes of halitosis, they would account for a relatively small percentage of halitosis cases.
How can I fix my bad breath?
First and foremost, since most cases of halitosis is caused by bacteria in your mouth, you should ensure that your oral hygiene is up to par. Do you know how to brush your teeth properly? Do you know how to floss? Even if you know what you’re doing, you’ll probably learn something new when you read these blogs.
It’s also very important that you start paying extra attention to your tongue. Are you currently cleaning your tongue? Lot of bacteria can hang out on your tongue, and you may want to start now! You can buy a tongue scraper or use your toothbrush. Just remember to rinse them after use!
Many people reach for cosmetic mouthwash when they feel their breath smells bad, but that comes with its own set of problems: mouthwash also kills the good bacteria in your mouth. Mouthwash doesn’t seem like a good option unless it’s one prescribed to you by a dentist or periodontist.
If you suspect you may suffer from halitosis, you should book a professional teeth cleaning or mention it to your dentist during your next check-up. Many people find this embarrassing, but it really shouldn’t be! Nobody chooses to get bad breath, and nobody is better qualified at removing it than us, so it makes sense to ask us for help!
We have decades of experience between our team members, and we would love to see you here at Cairns Precision Dental Group. You can book an appointment online or give us a call on 07 4054 2203 today!