Understanding the Causes and Cures of Bad Breath

Whether you want to admit it, everyone has suffered from a case of bad breath. It’s one of life’s great annoyances. Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer the embarrassment of bad breath once you understand the causes of the condition and how to treat them. At Louisville Dental Associates – we are here to tell you how.

What Causes Bad Breath

Bad breath begins with what you put into your body. Pickled onions and liverwurst for lunch? A late afternoon latte? While these treats may taste delicious, they also have the potential to cause your breath to smell less than its best.

Food you eat: While onions and coffee are two common contributors to bad breath, other foods and drinks like garlic, spicy foods and alcohol can also cause unpleasant aromas. The odors from these types of foods enter your bloodstream after consumption, and begin traveling to your lungs, causing them to come out each time you exhale.

Food “stuck” in your mouth: We don’t mean a small piece of lettuce on your teeth. After eating, any food particles that remain trapped between your teeth, along the gum line and on the tongue begin to release their odor on your breath, which only gets worse as more time passes since you’ve eaten as the food begins to decay. Without practicing quality oral hygiene habits – such as brushing and flossing daily – the food that gets stuck along your gum line can cause a variety of problems that could lead to the development of tooth decay and gum disease.

Tobacco: While there are many reasons why not to smoke, avoiding the bad breath the habit causes is just one more compelling example of why not to start.

Weight loss: Even though this may not seem fair, losing weight can cause your breath to smell less than fresh. When your body begins to break down stored fat, the process releases chemicals that can generate a rather unpleasant aroma.

Dry mouth: Feeling a little thirsty? The role saliva plays in the mouth is to continuously rinse bacteria and lingering food particles from your mouth. When you don’t have enough saliva, your mouth begins to lose a little of its freshness. In fact, morning breath is far worse for individuals who sleep with their mouths open, allowing air to dry them out. Remember, a dry mouth is a foul smelling mouth.

Medication and other health issues: A variety of commonly prescribed drugs can cause dry mouth and contribute to the development of bad breath. Health problems such as stomach issues, respiratory infections, chronic sinusitis, seasonal allergies, bronchitis and kidney and liver disease can factor in, as well. Persistent bad breath could also be a sign of gum disease.

Making Your Breath Better

Here are a few quick tips on how to improve your breath and your oral health in general. Just remember, the odors from what you eat stay with you until those foods have been fully processed out of your system, which could be up to three days later depending on what you’ve ate.

Brush those teeth: By far the most effective way to prevent bad breath is to practice quality oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time, and flossing at least once daily. Brushing and flossing help to ride your mouth of linger food particles and foul smelling bacteria, which is half the fight towards winning the battle against bad breath.

Scrape your tongue: Your tongue can harbor a variety of foul smelling bacteria that can quickly transform your breath. If you notice a whitish coating has developed on the surface of your tongue, you need to give it a quick brushing or scraping. This helps to remove any lingering bacteria and the foul odors they cause. If you don’t like brushing your tongue, consider buying a tongue scrapper instead.

Use a mouthwash: The mouth has many hard to reach places you may miss during brushing. Using an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing helps to eliminate trapped bacteria in these areas of the mouth so your breath remains smelling fresh.