Whether you’re chatting with an important client or sitting next to your special dinner date, no one wants to feel self-conscious about bad breath. 25% of people are affected by bad breath, or halitosis, and some may not even understand the root of the odor. Before you raid the shelves for a product that covers up the smell, consider these 6 reasons why you are experiencing halitosis. Figuring out the why will help you better understand how to find a solution to combat bad breath.

What’s on your plate

Garlic, and onions, and spices, oh my! Our food choices have a big impact on the smell of our breath after a delicious meal. The food begins to break down in your mouth and an odor often gets left behind. If you brush your teeth and still notice a smell, it’s due to the digestion process. The food enters your bloodstream after digestion and then it’s carried to your lungs, which affects your breath every time you exhale. A diet high in sugar can also give your breath an odor due to the reaction of the sugars with the existing bacteria in your mouth.

What’s in your cup

We are quick to blame the usual suspects of bad breath such as garlic and onions, but what you’re drinking could be leading to your halitosis (bad breath). Saliva helps kill bacteria in your mouth and also assists with digesting food particles caught in your teeth. The caffeine in coffee decreases saliva which increases the risk of bad breath. Alcohol also creates a drop in saliva. Often the food and drinks that contain that highest amount of sulfur compounds (coffee), cause the worst odors.

Poor dental hygiene

Bacterial growth can occur between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue if you don’t brush or floss daily, causing bad breath. The source of the odor is often food particles that are trapped between your teeth or bacteria that accumulates in the back of your throat. When you don’t take proper care of your teeth or dentures, and miss your checkups with your dental professional, you are putting yourself at a higher risk for not only bad breath, but for serious problems that can affect your long-term health.

Tobacco use

According to the CDC, smoking weakens your body’s immune system, making it harder for you to fight off infections, such as gum disease (which produces a foul odor). Not only can smoking and chewing stain your teeth, reduce your ability to taste food, and irritate your gums, you are at risk for a plethora of dangerous health problems. If you smoke, you are 2x more likely to get gum disease than a non-smoker, and the longer you smoke, the higher your risk is for the disease. Just add that to the list of why smoking is hazardous to your health!

Medication side effects

The causes of bad breath are varied and differ depending on your lifestyle, but if you are taking medication, bad breath might be stemming from its side effects. A variety of medications can cause harm to your dental health such as tooth decay or tooth discoloration, and more than 400 medications are known to cause dry mouth, which can cause bad breath. The way that the medicine is broken down in your body can create an odor that shows up in your mouth and on your breath. If you are taking medication and the side effects are bothering you, contact your medical professional before you alter your regimen.

Underlying health problems

If your bad breath is persistent or if you consistently have a bad taste in your mouth, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem that needs your attention. Bad breath can be linked to gum disease, yeast infection of the mouth, cavities, dry mouth, or tonsil stones. More serious health consequences include respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, post nasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, cancer, metabolic disorders, and liver and kidney problems.

Googling how to get rid of bad breath may not be as important as understanding why you are experiencing halitosis. Figuring out the why will help you find a solution that best solves the problem. Make an appointment with us if you are experiencing bad breath and would like our expert opinion on your dental health.