Bad breath, or “halitosis”, is something that everyone deals
with at least some of the time.
Many of us do not even realize that we have bad breath, but it can
certainly be unpleasant and embarrassing.
The main cause of bad breath is probably bacteria in the
mouth. Even in a healthy and
well-maintained mouth, there are millions of bacteria present at any given
time. If a person has poor oral
hygiene the bacterial count increases, and combined with the food debris that
may be collecting around and in-between the teeth, you can imagine that this is
a 24-hour buffet for the bacteria.
Who would want to leave that party? And as the gums and bone structure break down over time,
colonies of bacteria can embed themselves into the crevices that are now nearly
impossible to eliminate without the expertise of a dental professional.
Dental restorations may also be a collecting ground for
bacteria. If a filling is cracked,
even a little bit, or if a crown does not fit precisely, then bacterial
colonies can move in. And patients
who wear dentures but do not clean or maintain them properly will get bacteria
embedded in the plastic, leading to bad breath.
Saliva is an important part of how our body naturally
cleanses our mouths. Sometimes a
medical condition can cause a decrease in salivary flow, and several
medications do the same. Patients
who have persistently clogged nasal passages may breathe through their mouths,
and this can also dry the mouth significantly. A dry mouth alters the normal environment of the mouth and
can lead to an increase in bacterial count, causing bad breath.
Smoking is another one of those habits that can dry the
mouth, cause damage to the gums and bone, and leave behind a chemical residue
that causes bad breath.
Some foods can create bad breath in a number of ways as
well. Garlic, onions, and other
extra-flavorful foods can leave residues behind in the mouth, create gas in the
stomach that adds odor to our breath, and even may be breathed out through our
The best defense against bad breath is effective home care
with a toothbrush and dental floss combined with regular maintenance visits to
your dentist. There are many
dental products out there that promise to cure your bad breath, and some are more
effective than others. If you have
good hygiene habits and add oral health care products that work for you, bad
breath episodes can be minimized.
Just keep in mind that there are many factors involved in creating bad
breath, and unfortunately it happens to every one of us.