What Causes Bad Breath?
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 7/8/2019
No one wants bad breath. The good news is that there are ways to avoid it. And even if you have it, it is generally very treatable. Knowing the common causes of bad breath will help you determine whether it is a simple problem or a sign of something more serious.
Poor oral hygiene
First and foremost, proper oral hygiene is your first line of defense against bad breath. Failing to clean your teeth regularly allows food particles to remain in your mouth, which can lead to a buildup of plaque on your teeth. If the food particles become trapped in the surface of your tongue or even your tonsils, the bacteria can produce bad breath.
Eating and drinking certain foods and beverages
Onions, garlic, and spices are all sources of odor-causing food particles that enter the bloodstream and make their way to your lungs, affecting the odor of your breath.
If you are a coffee drinker, the caffeine can reduce the amount of saliva production in your mouth, leading to an increase in odor-causing bacteria. Drinking alcohol in excess has the same affect on your saliva production, creating ideal conditions for bad breath.
As I mentioned in the last section, saliva production is vital to fresh breath. When you sleep, for example, production stops or slows, which is why you tend to wake up from a night’s sleep with what people refer to as “morning breath.” But if you are experiencing this problem throughout the day, consider consulting a dental professional.
Some prescription medications can also lead to dry mouth, and thus bad breath.
Infections in your mouth
If you have recently undergone oral surgery, such as a tooth removal, the surgical wound can become a source of bad breath. In other cases, tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth sores are all types of infection that can affect the odor of your breath.
Disease or illness
Odor-causing bacteria is the usual suspect when it comes to identifying the culprit behind your bad breath, but there are also a number of health conditions that can contribute to bad breath. It can be a warning sign for a disease or illness, including respiratory and tonsil infections, diabetes, liver and kidney issues, and even certain blood disorders.
If you are experiencing persistent bad breath and are concerned that it is not the result of a common cause, schedule an appointment with your local Kimball & Beecher office.