Top Causes of Bad Breath & How To Battle Them
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Bad breath. It can make your nose wrinkle and your body actively recoil from the person you’re speaking to. You might angle your head away or discreetly place your hand in front of your nose to provide some relief from the stinky onslaught.
But do you say something and risk embarrassing or hurting the person you’re speaking to? Do you offer a breath mint? Or do you keep quiet and leave it up to some other brave soul to break the unfortunate news?
Everybody has bad breath in the morning. Nothing that a quick brush of your teeth and tongue can’t fix. But what do you do when despite adhering to excellent dental hygiene standards, your breath still smells?
In this article, we’re going to look at the leading causes of bad breath and ways to avoid it.
- What is bad breath
- What causes bad breath
- Types of bad breath
- How to avoid bad breath
- When to seek medical help
What is bad breath
Bad breath, or Halitosis as it’s known in the medical community, is breath that smells unpleasant. It’s most often caused by poor dental hygiene (not flossing or brushing correctly). Sometimes it can be the result of an underlying medical condition.
If you notice a bad taste in your mouth, you may have bad breath. Cupping your hand in front of your mouth, breathing out, and smelling your hand is a quick way to determine whether you need to give your teeth and tongue a good brush.
Or look in the mirror and stick your tongue out. If it’s pink, you’re in the clear. But if it’s covered in white spots, it’s possible the bad bacteria in your mouth is creating that unfortunate smell.
But what causes bad breath?
What causes bad breath
- Poor dental hygiene – Failing to brush or floss your teeth daily can cause food particles to get stuck between your teeth. This causes bacteria to grow around the gums and on your tongue, which leads to bad breath.
- Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease, occurs due to too much plaque on your teeth. Plaque causes bacteria to grow, which gives you smelly breath.
- Smoking cigarettes dries out your mouth and gives your breath a metallic smell which can be quite unpleasant to non-smokers.
- Dry mouth occurs when you produce too little saliva. Believe it or not but your saliva helps to reduce odours. You might also experience dry mouth if you sleep with your mouth open or take certain medications.
- Diseases include sleep apnoea, liver or kidney disease, diabetes, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder.
- Sinus infection – A blocked nose, postnasal drip, bronchitis, and enlarged tonsils can cause bad breath.
5 Types of bad breath
1. Rotting smell
An infection or abscess in your mouth, lungs, or throat can make your breath smell rancid. So too can cavities as a result of poor dental hygiene. Ill-fitting dentures or failing to clean them properly can cause food particles to get stuck. The longer they sit there, the more stinky they become.
2. Sweet or fruity smell
Diabetes can cause your breath to smell fruity or sweet, but it is something you need to take care of. Speak to your doctor if you think you may have ketoacidosis.
3. Mouldy smell
If you struggle with sinusitis and regularly experience bronchitis, you might notice that your breath smells mouldy. That thick, greenish, or yellow mucous in your nasal passage and drips down the back of your throat catches foreign particles like dust and microbes, which give you bad breath. Use a nasal spray and take a multivitamin daily.
4. Fecal smell
It’s a horrible thought, but if your breath smells like faeces and you’re constipated, you may have a bowel obstruction. Drink more water, eat more fibre, and speak to your doctor about what you can take to prevent it in the future.
5. Fishy smell
The leading cause of fishy-smelling breath is kidney problems. If your kidneys aren’t functioning properly, toxins will begin to accumulate in your body, and this can cause bad breath. If your breath smells fishy and you haven’t recently dined on sushi, tuna, or some other type of fish, contact your doctor.
How to avoid bad breath
Practice good consistent dental hygiene
Brush your teeth morning and night with fluoride toothpaste. Floss once a day and brush your tongue. You’ll also want to replace your toothbrush every two months, especially if it’s fraying. And use an antibacterial mouthwash to rinse your mouth after brushing. This can help to remove plaque that causes gingivitis and bad breath. If you own dentures, make sure you remove them at night and clean them thoroughly.
Drinking as much water as you can keeps your mouth moist and promotes saliva production, which helps combat bad breath. You may want to invest in a humidifier if you struggle with dry mouth.
Watch what you eat
Avoid spicy foods and red meat. Instead, eat more vegetables and fruit. Hard fruits like apples and carrots help to clear odour-causing plaque from your teeth.
Stock up on chewing gum and mints
This helps you to produce more saliva, which helps to prevent a build-up of bad odours. But make sure you stick to sugar-free gum.
Book regular dental check-ups
Ideally, you should see your dentist yearly for a thorough dental clean.
When to seek medical help
f you think you have a problem with persistent bad breath, speak to your dentist. They will check out your mouth to look for signs that poor dental hygiene may be causing your problems. If they suspect that it might be an underlying medical condition, they will refer you to your GP.
To book a dental appointment, find a dentist here. Alternatively, contact Welwitschia Hospital by calling +264 64 218 911 or emailing email@example.com. Never worry about whether you have smelly breath again.
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