Dentists Explain 10 Causes of Halitosis (And How to Fix It)

Dentists Explain 10 Causes of Halitosis (And How to Fix It)

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There’s nothing worse than bad breath. Have you ever had such horrible halitosis that you can’t stand the smell of your own breath? Many conditions can cause your breath to smell foul, and there are ways to combat these issues.

Did you know that many people have extreme anxiety when it comes to their breath, especially if others have made comments about the odor? If it’s not caused by poor dental hygiene, then even if you brush and use every mouthwash on the market, it won’t make much difference. Some chew gum until their mouth aches, but still, they have horrible breath.

Chronic halitosis is not something to ignore. It’s the body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. According to Medical News Today, it’s the third most common reason people go to the dentist. The article also states that about 25 percent of the population deal with foul odors in their mouth. Sadly, most of the cases are from poor oral health.

Common Causes of Halitosis

You can brush your teeth three times a day and floss when needed. However, your breath may have a pungent odor. Here are the ten most common causes of halitosis.

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1. Foods You Eat

If your diet is full of spicy foods and those containing onions and garlic, then it’s no wonder why your breath may be foul. Your diet certainly has a great deal to do with how your breath smells. If you eat Italian for lunch, then it’s understandable that the garlic content can affect your breath for the rest of the day.

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If you have a date or a big meeting at work, you might want to skip the spicy curry. Keeping some breath mints in your pocket might help, but when there are garlic and onions in the mix, it’s hard to overcome.

2. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a miserable feeling, and many things can cause this issue. Medication is undoubtedly a big problem, specifically antidepressants, water pills, and stimulants. The saliva glands may not produce the proper amount of saliva, which helps to wash the bacteria away.

Bacteria and a dry mouth can create an awful aroma. Try drinking a lot of water and sucking on a breath mint to help keep moisture in your mouth.

3. Tobacco

Cigarette and cigar smoke can give your mouth a horrible smell. Did you know that when you smoke, it leaves particles in your lungs and throat that can irritate it? According to Quit Smoking Forever, tobacco alone has 60 aromatic hydrocarbons in it that can cause halitosis.

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Cigarettes alone smell terrible, but they also dry the saliva in your mouth, causing you to keep bacteria floating around. When the bacteria mixes with the toxins from the cigarettes, it can cause a quite intense mouth odor. If you don’t want your date to cringe when you want a kiss, then stop smoking.

4. Bad Dental Hygiene

How many times do you brush your teeth each day? According to the Mayo Clinic, you need to brush at least two times per day to have excellent oral health. It’s best to brush after every meal, if possible. These experts suggest that you use toothpaste with fluoride as well as mouthwash and floss.

Brushing your teeth is just one part of the process. If you don’t floss, tiny food particles become lodged in the gums’ edge and between the teeth. These food particles can rot and cause a smell.

If you don’t brush for at least two minutes each time, you won’t remove all the plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Finally, use a strong mouthwash to finish off your tooth-brushing session and kill any bacteria left behind.

Another part of good oral health is going to the dentist at least two times per year. Your dentist will make sure you have no cavities and see how good a job you’re doing at brushing. They can also identify if there are any issues, such as gum disease.

Some people are genetically predisposed to have dental problems. However, you can stay on top of these issues by seeing your dentist and practicing good dental hygiene at home.

5. Crash Diets

It seems rather odd to include crash diets in the list as a cause for bad breath. However, have you ever heard of anyone on the keto diet complaining about their breath? Sadly, the keto diet is one of the biggest culprits of bad breath.

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When you’re eating a diet high in fat and protein, your body goes into a state of ketosis. Burning ketones in the body is a smelly business. Some say it’s a fruity odor, while others say it just plain stinks. If you’re plagued by bad breath on a diet, then you might need to scrape your tongue regularly or add some carbs to help combat this common problem.

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6. Conditions of Mouth-Nose and Throat

Another reason you may be battling bad breath is issues with your mouth, nose, or throat. These work together so closely for respiration that it also affects the other two when one is affected. The common cold usually includes your nose and throat, so it usually presents as foul breath from your mouth.

Sinus conditions are another issue that can make your breath less than fresh. When you have a sinus or throat infection, your halitosis is often a tell-tale sign. Of course, any conditions in your mouth or tongue will show up in your breath.

If you have a throat or mouth infection that stinks up your mouth, consider using salt water rinses. Gargling salt water can not only help your symptoms, but it can also keep your mouth fresh and hydrated. Sucking on menthol cough drops can soothe a sore throat and make your breath smell minty clean too.

7. Diseases

Did you know that healthcare providers often check your breath for signs of an underlying condition? Many diseases like liver disease and cancer cause chemical imbalances in your body and let their presence be known with foul breath.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a disease and notice your breath is affected, talk to your healthcare specialist. Keep a supply of your favorite mints or chewing gum handy. You might also consider rinsing your mouth with a homemade herbal mouthwash.

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8. Medication

Do you ever listen to those long, boring medication infomercials that interrupt your favorite television show? Dry mouth is a common side effect that you’ll hear on many of them. Of course, where there’s dry mouth, your breath can pay the price.

Some medications for chemotherapy or cardiac issues break down chemically in your body and can cause halitosis. Do you know the unpleasant smells that some vitamins and supplements have? When you take a lot of them, you may notice the same scent on your breath.

Talk to your healthcare provider about any medications that are causing unpleasant side effects like bad breath. Sometimes, drugs can be exchanged for another that won’t give you the same problems.

9. Foreign Bodies Lodged in The Nasal Cavities

Young children are notorious for sticking small things up their nose for curiosity’s sake. However, their inquisitive nature can create a health hazard that you can’t see until later. The infection will usually manifest as sinus problems, runny nose, and rank breath.

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Small objects can not only be a choking hazard for children, but they can also pose a risk of being stuffed up the nose. Keep these objects well out of their reach. If you suspect that your child has a foreign object lodged in the nasal cavities, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

10. Stomach Issues

Your mouth is the first stop for food going into your digestive system. From your mouth, your esophagus is connected to your stomach. It stands to reason that any issues you have with your stomach would show up as bad breath.

People with acid reflux or chronic heartburn often complain of having stinky breath. When your stomach acids are regurgitated into your esophagus, it may also contain broken-down bacteria that has a terrible odor. You may also get sour burps, which also can overwhelm you with foul breath.

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Consider following an eating plan that is less acidic, so you don’t have so much indigestion. Certain herbs like peppermint and ginger can also soothe an upset stomach. Plus, they can also freshen your breath.

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Final Thoughts on Managing Your Halitosis

Living with bad breath is no fun. If you have a chronic condition, you must identify the cause of the issue and then try to fix it. Many things can be combated with avid brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. However, some problems are beyond your control.

If a medication is causing you such issues, then you should seek help. Additionally, if poor dental health is the cause of your halitosis, then talk to your dentist about ways to combat this problem. There’s no reason to be anxious about your bad breath, as there are things you can do to fix it.

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