We all hate to have bad breath and we all know that regular brushing and flossing is the best way to fix it, but many people don’t realize some of the distinct causes of bad breath. Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by specific problems that you may actually have some control over.
One of the biggest, but most obvious, causes of bad breath is a dirty mouth. Experts say that ninety percent of the odor that comes from our mouths is caused by either food or bacteria that is left in the mouth. It works just like any other form of body odor. It makes sense this way- if we have odor everywhere else why wouldn’t we have it in our mouths too? There are microbes that live in the body and give off byproducts, and those byproducts are the cause of odor all over our bodies including our mouths. The bacteria that stay naturally in the mouth will interact with our food to give off the terrible odors we experience as a part of halitosis. Usually toothpaste and brushing take care of this, but if you skip a brush or two those bacteria make themselves at home in your mouth and start making volatile sulfur compounds in your mouth!
Another major cause of halitosis happens when your mouth gets out of balance. Our bodies rely on certain pH levels to maintain regular functions and keep our odors in check. But when we eat certain foods that have different pH balances from our mouths then they can adjust the pH balances in our mouths and lead to halitosis. Highly acidic or extremely base foods can throw the balance of our mouths out of wack which causes the bacteria in our mouths to go haywire. Other things that can send our mouths out of balance are things like temperature and moisture. Dry mouth is a huge problem because saliva is one of the body’s natural defense mechanisms against oral bacteria. When the mouth is dry the saliva are not swishing the bacteria around and out of the mouth and the bacteria are then allowed to settle down and set up shop in your mouth!
One of the more obvious causes of bad breath would of course have to be eating odorous foods. When you eat foods that smell bad then it is very likely they will continue to smell bad when you get them on your breath. What happens with these foods is that the mouth picks up these odors and they stay in the mouth. But that is not the only reason halitosis is affected by smelly foods. When you eat a smelly food the odors can actually enter the bloodstream and thereby enter the lungs, causing you to keep the odors of these foods on your breath for hours.
Sometimes bad breath isn’t about what you eat though, it’s about what you don’t eat. Carbohydrates are an important part of keeping bad breath at bay, and if you aren’t eating enough of them you could be giving yourself halitosis. When your body does not have enough carbohydrates to burn for fuel then they start burning the stored fats instead. This may be good for weight loss but it ends up leading to a condition called ketosis if you aren’t careful. With ketosis ketones build up in the body because of the way fat is burned, and sometimes these ketones can build up in the lungs and be exhaled through the breath. The problem with that is that ketones have a displeasing odor.
And finally there is one last major cause of halitosis that often people don’t even think of. Being sick can sometimes cause a person to come down with a case of bad breath and usually when you have a cold or flu you realize the illness before you notice the bad breath. But sometimes we may have a case of bad breath that isn’t explained away by any of the normal causes and it will turn out to be a sign of a major illness. Diseases like diabetes and gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) are some of the worse offenders when it comes to causing bad breath. The reason is because diabetes can often cause ketosis, as mentioned above. GERD can cause bad breath by causing a backflow of acid to build up in the esophagus so that the patient winds up with the smell of stomach acid on their breath. Other possible diseases that cause bad breath, though they are less common, are liver and kidney diseases. These organs are meant to filter toxins from our bodies and when they malfunction those toxins can leak into the body and be excreting through other organ like the lungs.
If you would like to avoid bad breath or receive treatment for chronic bad breath please visit our contact us page or call 704-759-0908 for more information!