Bad Breath? It’s Not Only You That Suffers, But Also Those Around You!
There’s no way to mask it – bad breath is embarrassing. Fortunately, with proper dental care and some helpful home remedies, bad breath can be conquered. Most often, the cause can be traced to a buildup of bad bacteria in the mouth, so good oral hygiene is essential. Other causes include diet, smoking, dry mouth, medications, gum disease, medical complications, and sinus conditions.
Much of the time, bad breath comes from the gases produced by bacteria accumulating in the mouth, on the gums, teeth and tongue. Many of these gases contain sulfur, which gives them their stinky smell. Morning is the worst time because our mouths have been dry all night, giving bacteria plenty of time to work their smelly magic.
Once foods such as garlic and onion are metabolized by the liver, their odor is excreted in perspiration and from the lungs, rather than from the mouth. As your digestive system breaks down food, it enters your bloodstream. Pungent oils in garlic and onions eventually enter your lungs and cause bad breath. Brushing your teeth, eating a mint or using mouthwash covers the smell, but it will not go away completely until the food has left your body.
Food particles can also remain in your mouth if you do not brush or floss daily. These particles collect between the teeth and encourage the growth of bacteria, which builds up in the mouth and causes bad breath.
Smoking and chewing tobacco can also lead to mouth odor and bad breath. In addition to their own smells, tobacco particles collect in your teeth and lead to bacteria growth in the same way that food does. Furthermore, smokers and chewers are more likely to
disease, a symptom of which is bad breath.
A bad odor coming from an exhale through the nose is a sign of something systemic, which affects the body as a whole and can indicate an underlying medical condition such as liver disease or diabetes. In the condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, the body cannot properly break down and use glucose as an energy source, so it opts to break down body fat instead. As a byproduct of doing this, the body produces ketones. These can result in sweet, fruity breath if the disease is not addressed and the chemicals continue to build up in the blood and urine, according to the National Institutes of Health. Late-stage liver failure can also cause bad breath. Also known as "Fetor hepaticus," the sweet, musty aroma is caused by dimethyl sulfide, not ketones. In addition, people with chronic kidney failure may have breath that smells "fishy" or like ammonia, according to the NIH. Known as "uremic fetor," the high concentration of urea in the saliva and its subsequent breakdown to ammonia causes this condition. Other medical problems associated with bad breath include sinusitis (inflamed sinuses), pneumonia, bronchitis, postnasal drip and acid reflux.
Chronic bad breath, called halitosis, is often a sign of early-stage gum disease. If you brush and floss regularly and still can’t defeat bad breath, consult your dentist. After an examination, he or she can diagnose the root cause of bad breath and recommend the proper method of treatment.
The following fresh-breath secrets may also improve your oral aroma:
Floss – Food particles stuck between teeth emit a foul odor as they decay – need we say more?
Scrape – A tongue scraper will remove bacteria trapped beneath taste buds.
Rinse – Many commercial mouth rinses temporarily freshen breath, but rinsing with a baking soda or a peroxide solution can help fight odor-causing bacteria.
Change Your Toothbrush – Avoid spreading bad bacteria by replacing your toothbrush every three months.
Wet Your Whistle – Sipping water throughout the day prevents dehydration and washes away vagrant food particles.
Beware of Beverages – Coffee, beer, wine, and whiskey top the list of liquid offenders.
Spice Things Up – Keep some fresh sprigs of parsley or mint leaves at your disposal as quick, natural breath fresheners. Cloves, cardamom, and fennel also have odor-fighting powers.