Bad Breath - What is it, What causes it, and how to treat bad breath
- Unbalanced oral flora
- Gum disease
- Medications [1.]
- Food such as garlic and dairy
- Dry mouth
- Tobacco use
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum disease
Bad breath is typically due to poor oral hygiene, but if halitosis persists then it may be due to other factors. Drainage in the back of the throat from allergies or sinus infections can cause bad breath. If active gum disease is present, halitosis will most likely persist until the condition has been reversed.
Sometimes bad breath can be difficult to notice yourself. You may need to ask a friend or family member to help with your self-diagnosis.
The following signs and symptoms may be associated with bad breath:
- Black or white hairy tongue
- Visible tartar buildup on the teeth
- Swollen, red or bleeding gums
- Filmy buildup on the tongue
- Accompanying systemic infection
- Swollen lymph nodes
Some other symptoms you may notice during bout of bad breath are saliva that is thick or stringy; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips; altered sense of taste; or increased plaque, tooth decay and gum disease.
|A bad taste in the mouth may develop first.||Then the odor may be more easily noticed by others than by yourself.||By this point, social and professional embarrassment may occur.|
Bad breath can progress from a temporary problem to a chronic condition that is difficult to reverse. Many people believe they can simply treat the condition topically with the use of mints or gums, but treating only the symptoms will allow the underlying condition to progress until the cause is identified.
If bad breath is due to the development of gum disease, not treating the condition properly can result in severe bone destruction and the loss of teeth.
Halitosis is typically associated with periodontal disease infections. In some cases it may be due to other underlying conditions. If gum disease is the cause of your halitosis, then it is important to know that gum disease is linked with numerous health conditions that should not be ignored.
Examples of diseases linked with periodontal infections include: cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke and elevated blood pressure; diabetes; obesity; erectile dysfunction; and premature labor Treatment for these conditions should be correlated with treatments for gum disease, as the severity of each can affect the response of the other conditions.
Gum and mints are other options as well, but generally mask breath instead of treating the actual cause of it. If you do go that route, be sure to use sugar-free products, as ones with sugar will only feed that bacteria that you need to eliminate.
How do I know if I have bad breath? There is no concrete way to perform a halitosis test. Rather, a family member or close friend will usually tell you. It may be embarrassing to bring the topic up with your dentist, but they are there to help you if you fear you have a problem with bad breath.
Why do I have bad breath? Bad breath is typically due to inappropriate oral hygiene, or dental disease such as gingivitis, gum disease or severe decay.
What’s the quickest way to get rid of bad breath? In order to reduce bad breath you must eliminate the bacteria in your mouth, which are causing the malodor. Knowing how to control oral bacteria is how to control bad breath.
How do I get rid of morning breath? Cleanse your mouth thoroughly before bed and drink plenty of water. Be sure you take any medications for allergies or acid reflux. Upon waking, cleanse your mouth thoroughly or rinse with a bit of non-alcoholic mouthwash such as water mixed with a few drops of essential oils.
What’s the best mouthwash for bad breath? The best mouthwash for bad breath is one that does not contain alcohol or act to cover-up the halitosis, instead of treating it. Keeping oral flora in balance is important, so using natural products such as a few drops of essential oils in water can be beneficial.
What’s the best toothpaste for bad breath? The best toothpaste for bad breath is one that is used properly, with an efficient brushing method that removes all oral bacteria. Most over-the-counter toothpastes contain a mild mint flavor that provides a short duration of a fresh scent in the mouth. Adding a few drops of essential oils to your toothbrush can provide hours of relief to your bad breath.
Do I need to see a dentist about my bad breath? If you are experiencing bleeding gums, broken teeth, or sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold, you are most likely suffering from active decay or other disease that may need to be addressed by a dentist.
My bad breath seems to also be associated with a bad taste. Why is this? Areas in your mouth that have food pack between teeth, active gum disease, or dental abscesses may also taste bad. This is due to disease bacteria in the mouth.
Can’t I tell by myself if I have bad breath? Most people are unaware of scents or odors that they give off themselves. Other times, they simply become accustomed to it to the point where they no longer notice it, even if it is very obvious to others. Just because you can’t tell you have bad breath doesn’t mean that others don’t.
- 1 Murata T, Fujiyama Y, Yamaga T, Miyazaki H.; Breath Malodor In An Asthmatic Patient Caused By Side-Effects Of Medication: A Case Report And Review Of The Literature.; Oral Dis. 2003 Sep;9(5):273-6.
- 2Tornout, V., Dadamio, J., Coucke, W., Quirynen, M.; Tongue Coating: Related Factors; Clin Periodontology; 2013 Feb;40(2):180-5.