Unfortunately, a huge number of people suffer from bad breath to at least some extent, and treating the source of the problem is complicated by the fact that it has such a wide range of different causes. Read on to discover seven things that you need to know if you want to avoid having bad breath in the future or want to treat bad breath now.
1) Bad breath is most commonly caused by poor dental hygiene:
Chronic problems with bad breath are typically due to an unwanted coating of bacteria on your teeth and gums. This coating almost always results from failing to brush your teeth in the right way, or from failing to brush them at least twice every day. Without effective brushing, food residue lingers in your mouth and eventually produces the offensive odor that is characteristic of bad breath. If you are concerned that your breath is unpleasant, your first course of action should be to increase the frequency of your brushing and check that your technique is appropriate.
2) Smoking is the second most common cause of bad breath:
If someone brushes their teeth often and brushes them correctly, habitual smoking is another likely explanation for bad breathing. Of course, it is important to note there are also much more significant reasons why you should stop smoking. Being a smoker makes you more likely to suffer from gum disease, creates unsightly staining on your teeth, and substantially increases your risk of developing some form of oral cancer in your lifetime.
3) Xerostomia is sometimes responsible for bad breath:
In cases where bad breath is not caused by food residue or by smoking cigarettes, the most common cause is something called xerostomia. This condition also involves a malodorous buildup of bacteria, but the specific reason for this buildup is a poor flow of saliva. If you suspect that you are suffering from xerostomia, you will need to speak to your dentist in order to better identity the root cause of your dry mouth. This condition can be caused by malfunctioning salivary glands, particular medications, or breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. If the cause of your xerostomia cannot be eliminated, you can purchase an artificial saliva product that can help to reduce bad breath.
4) Some cases of bad breath are caused by underlying health problems:
In rare cases (i.e. slightly less than 10%), chronic bad breath is a symptom of an underlying illness that is unrelated to the teeth and gums. Some examples include digestive system malfunctions, throat infections, upper respiratory infections, kidney and liver problems, and sinus infections. If you have bad breath and have managed to rule out the other causes mentioned above and below, visit your doctor as well as your dentist.
5) Gum disease is often accompanied by bad breath:
In other cases, bad breath is a symptom of ongoing gum disease. If you are suffering from this condition, you are likely to have bleeding gums, visible inflammation, and a noticeably unpleasant taste in your mouth. If you are concerned about symptoms of gum disease, make an appointment with your dentist in order to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan.
6) There are things you can do to help prevent bad breath:
Above all, you must ensure that you brush your teeth twice a day and do so in a thorough manner so as to avoid bacteria building up and causing an unpleasant smell. Flossing will also help, as without using dental floss you are only cleaning three out of the five surfaces of your teeth. In addition, you may want to consider buying an antibacterial mouthwash that contains cetylpyridinium chloride.
7) You can perform a test to find out whether you have bad breath:
Finally, if you are concerned about your breath but are unsure about whether it is genuinely unpleasant to others, you can test your breath by smelling your wrist after licking a small patch of skin.