Bad breath – What causes it and what to do about it?
The clinical term for bad breath is “halitosis” or another clinical term is “oral malodor”. Occasional bad breath halitosis is probably what have you can affect everything from your personal life to your private life, It can even affect your professional life, but once you find out what causes bad breath, you’re able to treat it.
There’s more to combatting halitosis than avoiding garlic or popping a breath mint a few times a day. In reality, some types of bad breath can even be linked to underlying health problems!
Causes Of Bad Breath
If you ask your dentist what causes bad breath, some of the most common reasons include:
- gum disease
- buildup on your tongue
- allergies and sinus drainage
- gastrointestinal problems
- dairy, garlic, onion, etc.
- dry mouth (xerostomia)
- poor oral hygiene
- smoking and tobacco use
Even if you’re rinsing all day long with mouthwash, it might have ingredients like alcohol that dry out your mouth and alter the natural flora inside of it. When that happens, it can make halitosis even worse. We also know that health issues like diabetes, certain types of cancers, or lung problems can cause bad breath.
So if you’re brushing, flossing, seeing your dentist, and doing all the things you think you need to get rid of bad breath but it just isn’t getting better, you need to have a serious talk with your dentist or doctor to find out why.
Why You Get Bad Breath?
Somewhere around 90% of bacteria that causes bad breath will be located on your tongue. If you’ve ever looked at your tongue up close in the mirror, you’ve seen the tiny little papilla that covers its surface. Every time you eat, food debris and waste products collect around those papillae. After a while, they start to stink.
So use a tongue scraper twice a day or even after every time you eat. You should actually travel with a personal tongue scraper in your purse.
Tongue scrapers are more effective at removing debris from your tongue than a regular toothbrush. But if a toothbrush is all you have right now brush your tongue with that toothbrush because it’s better than nothing.
Having said all that, make sure you are using the proper techniques when you’re brushing and flossing and/or cleaning between your teeth.
If you’re looking to buy a tongue scraper and you don’t know which one to buy we put links for some tongue scrapers to help you get started.
In most scenarios, patients go to their regular dentists asking them about bad breath, and right and one of the common reasons is they never floss or use anything to clean between their teeth.
About 40% of your tooth surface is missed when you’re not cleaning between your teeth that’s a large percentage of space for bad smelly bacteria to thrive.
So consider flossing, water flossing, interdental brushing, or a combination of the three. This way you’ll be properly cleaning between your teeth to remove that bad bacteria.
What If You do all of this, But You still get bad breath!
If you are doing all of it tongue scraping, brushing properly, cleaning between your teeth properly, and you still have bad breath, make sure next time you visit your dentist to ask them they will help you find a reason that can be contributing to your bad breath.
There are two things they might notice or look for either dry mouth or gum disease or both.
A Dry Mouth can cause bad breath because saliva is a natural barrier against bad breath. So without saliva or minimal amounts of saliva, you are more prone to getting bad breath.
With Gum Disease, we’ve learned that a specific type of bad breath bacteria comes along for the ride when you have gum disease. So if you have this bad bacteria below your gum line and it’s calcified.
You can brush and brush and brush and floss and water flaws and do all that stuff at home until you’re blue in the face and it will not come off at home. You need a dentist or a dental hygienist to professionally clean it off for you.
However if you do visit the dentist and they take x-rays, they pareo chart, and they do not find that you have any signs of gum disease or tartar below the gum line and they ruled out any signs of dry mouth but you still have bad breath maybe it’s not related to your mouth at all.
Apart from your mouth, your nasal sinuses, the back of your throat, GI tract, and airway can all contribute to bad breath.
So if you feel like this bad breath is coming from your throat or your stomach visit your primary physician and/or an ENT you might even have little pieces of food debris stuck in the back of your throat.
These are sometimes called tonsil stones, sometimes gargling with warm salt water can help clean them out but not always. So please go visit your doctor and they will help you out.
bad breath Remedies
We will give you some examples of things you can eat and drink and do throughout the day to help you combat bad breath.
Drink more water – keep hydrated all day and for those of you who hate water like plain water adding a little lemon to your water is great even a little drop of lemon essential oil may help fight off other bad breath bacteria.
Eat more yogurt – yogurt can help because the probiotics in yogurt aid to kill off yeast and microbes that cause bad breath, of course, you need a real yogurt, not sugary yogurt or anything like that.
Drink the green drinking – green juices without sugar can help alkalize your body, things such as wheatgrass juice things that are high in chlorophyll like kale, cilantro, cucumber, celery, and parsley. All these can help cure bad breath also if you want to add any of these healthy options to your water do it just make sure you don’t add sugar.
Green tea – this is another great beverage to fight off bad breath because the antimicrobials in green tea work like a deodorant a natural disinfectant. it’s specific minimizes sulfur compounds in your mouth that contribute to bad breath.
Parsley – one more thing we have just mentioned, parsley is one of the things you could add to your water. But something even more to note about parsley is that it’s really good at neutralizing odor. So after you eat something stinky chew on some parsley it can actually neutralize your mouth.
Some more quick fixes are sugar-free myths, sugar-free gum including xylitol products, and other ADA-approved breath sprays.
Again though these will not get rid of the problem, they will help you out if you just ate something smelly.
Finally, if you truly did all the things and nothing is working for you and you still taste something nasty coming from the back of your throat, please visit your dentist or visit your doctor and they will help you get to the bottom of it.