People with chronic bad breath often lose their self-confidence. It can be difficult to know if you have this problem, because it is often challenging to pick up on one’s own scent.
What’s more, family members and colleagues may not feel comfortable telling you. One of the best ways to find out if you have foul breath is to lick the inside of your wrist, wait five seconds, and then take a whiff.
Although this is something everyone experiences at one time or another, if your case does not improve after brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth with a mouthwash, it may be chronic.
Most symptoms of bad breath, [sometimes called halitosis] depend on the underlying cause. The most common symptoms include postnasal drip, a bitter metallic taste, a white coating on the tongue, and thick saliva.
Many individuals who have foul breath associated with dry mouth can experience difficulty speaking or swallowing, a burning sensation in the mouth, or dry eyes. Fever, sore throat, persistent cough, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck indicate respiratory tract infections, which can also be a contributing factor.
American Bad Breath expert, Dr. Harold Katz, underscores that bad breath odors vary, depending on the source or the underlying cause.
However, some people worry too much about their breath even though they have little or no mouth odor, while others have bad breath and don’t know it. Because it’s difficult to assess how your own breath smells, ask a close friend or relative to confirm your bad-breath questions.
Most bad breath starts in your mouth, and there are many possible causes. They include:
- Certain Type Of Food You Eat [Sometimes]
The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic and spices also can cause bad breath. After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs and affect your breath.
- Tobacco Products
Smoking causes its own unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath.
- Poor Dental Hygiene
If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. A colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth.
If not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums.
Your tongue also can trap bacteria that produce odors. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or don’t fit properly can harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles.
- Dry Mouth
Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors. A condition called dry mouth [xerostomia] can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased.
Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to “morning breath,” and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open.
- Crash dieting
Crash dieting, fasting, and low-carbohydrate diets are another possible cause of bad breath. They cause the body to break down fat, which produces chemicals that can be smelled on your breath.
Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath.
- Infections In Your Mouth
Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores.
- Nose And Throat Conditions
Bad breath can occasionally come from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath.
- Other Causes
Diseases, such as metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive breath odor as a result of chemicals they produce. Chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD) can be associated with bad breath.
Meanwhile bad breath in young children can be caused by a foreign body, such as a piece of food, lodged in a nostril.
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Seven Bad Breath Home Remedies
The practice of a few, simple, self-care techniques can help to minimize bad breath. There are several things you can do at home.
- Advanced oral care products: Use oral care products such as mouthwashes and toothpastes that have been shown to be effective in fighting bad breath.
- Proper oral care: Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Be sure to get a toothbrush with soft bristles (as to not damage tooth enamel or gums) and also use fluoride toothpaste. Brushing and flossing helps to remove any food and plaque which can be used as a fuel source by the anaerobic, sulfur-producing bacteria that are at the root of this problem.
- Stimulate your salivary flow: Prevent dry mouth with chewing gum, lozenges, or mints that are sugar free.
- Eat fibrous fruits and vegetables: One of the best ways to remove bacteria in the mouth is to eat an apple a day. It helps moisten the mouth, too.
- Take a dietary supplement: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B are effective at helping your body eliminate excess mucus and toxins naturally.
- Brush your teeth occasionally with baking soda: The bacteria that cause bad breath thrive in an acidic oral environment. Brushing your teeth with baking soda helps neutralize excess acids found in the oral cavity.
- Dr. Ssali also recommends the use of powdered charcoal to brush the teeth.