Bad Breath: Causes and Prevention

Bad Breath: Causes and Prevention

Bad breath, medically called halitosis, is an unpleasant odor coming from your mouth.

The most common cause of bad breath is food particles stuck between your teeth. These food particles produce bacteria, which results in bad odors. Other causes of bad breath include dry mouth, gum disease, cavities, infections, and sinus issues. Read on to understand the major causes of bad breath and how to prevent them. 

Causes of Bad Breath

  • Poor Oral Hygiene

Bad breath can be caused by poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth or floss regularly, food particles can build up in your mouth. This can create an environment for bacteria to thrive. When bacteria in your mouth break down food particles, they can release odorous gases. These gases are what cause bad breath.

  • Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the most common causes of bad breath. When plaque builds up on your teeth, it hardens on your teeth. It mixes with saliva and then sticks to your teeth. This forms a solid film called tartar. If you have gum disease, you’ll likely end up with tartar on your teeth. This causes gum inflammation and gum disease. You’ll likely end up with bad breath because of the bacteria in your mouth.

  • Diet

If your diet contains a lot of garlic, cheese, and onions, it can contribute to bad breath. This is because these foods have sulfur compounds that are released into your bloodstream when you eat them. Your body eliminates these sulfur compounds through your lungs. Foods that are high in fat can also lead to bad breath. This is because your body breaks these down, releasing their byproducts. These byproducts are eliminated by your lungs.

  • Smoking

Smoking is one of the most common causes of bad breath. When people are smoking, they are inhaling smoke from lit tobacco products. This smoke contains chemicals, tar, and other components that can give off an unpleasant odor to your breath.

Additionally, smoking can stain your teeth, causing your smile to look discolored or yellowish. This yellowing of your teeth can give off the appearance of bad breath.

  • Dry Mouth

Lack of saliva is one of the primary causes of bad breath. When food particles, bacteria, and dead cells are not washed away by saliva, they can accumulate in the mouth. Bacteria thrive here, producing volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) as a byproduct.

Bacteria and VSCs contribute to bad breath, leaving an unpleasant odor. A dry mouth is also associated with tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections.

A dry mouth can be caused by dehydration, certain medications, tobacco use, and various medical conditions. The best way to combat dry mouth is by staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential.

  • Sinus Infections

Sinus infections are often caused by obstruction of the nasal passages. This can be caused by excess mucus, which is often due to allergies. Sinus infections may also be caused by small, swollen blood vessels in the sinuses. This inflammation can cause sinus blockage. Sinus infections can also cause bad breath. The infection causes mucus to build up, which leads to foul-smelling breath.

  • Tonsil Stones

The tonsils are a pair of oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of the throat. The tonsils help the body fight infections but can become enlarged to the point that they block the breathing passages. This can cause chronic bad breath. 

  • Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is the most common cause of bad breath. In fact, tobacco causes all kinds of oral health problems, including oral cancer, gum disease, and stained teeth. Stopping tobacco use is the best thing someone can do to improve their oral health.

Tobacco has thousands of chemicals in it, and these chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream and lungs when smoked or chewed. The chemicals from tobacco can linger in the mouth for hours at a time and can cause bad breath. 

  • Oral Piercings

If you’re pierced, it’s common to have some swelling, soreness, and minor bleeding. While these issues aren’t usually serious, they can impact your breath. Piercings can cause worse breath by disrupting the natural flow of saliva, which contains enzymes that kill bacteria. A dry mouth also contributes to bad breath. Rinsing your mouth with salt water or mouthwash, sucking on sugar-free candies or gum, and drinking plenty of water can help.

How To Prevent Bad Breath?

At-home remedies for bad breath include brushing and flossing. Brushing your teeth and tongue after you wake up and before you go to bed helps remove plaque from your mouth. Flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles and bacteria from between your teeth.

For a mild case of bad breath, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash or salt water may help. For more severe or chronic cases of bad breath, you should talk to your Dentist in Livermore, CA

Alta Vista Dental provides the best dental services in Livermore, CA, with the expertise of experienced dentists. Call 925-292-1459 and book your appointment to learn more ways to take care of your oral and dental health. 


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