Are you self-conscious about the way your breath smells?
Do you find yourself constantly reaching for gum, mints, or mouthwash?
Do you feel embarrassed or even anxious about your bad breath?
If so, you’re not alone. One study estimates that 60 million Americans suffer from chronic halitosis or bad breath.
While some causes of bad breath are obvious, other reasons may surprise you. In this post, we’ll reveal 7 possible reasons for your bad breath.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration is one of the most common causes of bad breath.
When you don’t drink enough water, food and associated bacteria stay in your mouth longer. The longer it remains in your mouth, the more the bacteria breeds (and the worse your breath becomes).
A related condition is dry mouth, or xerostomia. This results from decreased saliva production. It’s natural during sleep, although the symptoms are worse if you sleep with your mouth open. Some medications and medical conditions also contribute to dry mouth.
Fortunately, dehydration and dry mouth have a simple solution: Drink more water! Plain water or water with lemon is best to rehydrate your thirsty body. Sugar-free candies or gum also help to stimulate saliva production.
Poor Oral Hygiene
If you think you might have bad breath, often the first thing you think to do is to brush your teeth. But good oral hygiene goes beyond cleaning your teeth.
Your tongue can also trap bacteria that cause halitosis, so be sure to brush your tongue daily. The same goes for the roof of your mouth. Point your toothbrush bristles up and give the roof of your mouth a good scrub as well. If you wear dentures, braces, or other apparatus, make sure to properly clean them every day.
The cleaner you keep your mouth, the less likely you are to develop bad breath.
Any food that lingers in your mouth can breed bacteria and cause bad breath.
Certain strong-smelling foods, though, are notorious for causing bad breath. These include:
- Curry spices
- Dairy products
- Canned tuna
As you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream and lungs and eventually affect your breath. If you’re struggling with chronic halitosis, you may want to limit or eliminate these foods from your diet.
In case you don’t have enough reasons to quit smoking, here’s one more. Cigarettes and other tobacco products are a major contributor to bad breath.
The smell of a recently smoked cigarette lingers in the lungs for hours, producing a stale scent known as “smoker’s breath.”
Nicotine and tar from the cigarette also remain in the mouth, coating your teeth, gums, tongue, and cheeks. This leads to a host of other problems, from annoyances like dry mouth to serious diseases like cancer.
Smoking is a tough habit to break, but the results are worth it. Your body (and your breath) will thank you for your efforts.
Certain medications can alter your body’s chemistry and lead to bad breath.
Here’s a list of the seven most popular medications that may cause bad breath:
If you’ve been taking one of these medications for a while, you may notice common side effects like dry mouth, altered taste, or bad breath.
Changing your medication (if possible) could reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Check with your doctor before making any changes.
When we think of ulcers, bad breath probably isn’t the first symptom that comes to mind.
But along with heartburn and stomach pain, another common symptom of an ulcer is bad breath. The culprit is H. pylori, the bacteria that causes the ulcer.
When it breeds rapidly, your stomach isn’t the only part of your body affected. H. pylori is notorious for causing sour, acidic breath.
If you suspect your bad breath might be linked to an ulcer or another stomach condition, speak with your doctor.
In most cases, bad breath can be explained by one of the causes described above.
If you’ve done everything you can to battle bad breath with no results, it might be time to take a closer look at your health. Chronic halitosis could be a sign of a serious underlying condition.
The type of gases in your breath reveal a lot about what’s happening inside your body. Excessive methylamine, for example, could signal kidney or liver disease. Too much acetone might be a sign of diabetes. Doctors can even diagnose asthma by the amount of nitric oxide in your breath!
Of course, you can’t make any of these diagnoses on your own. Schedule an appointment for a more sensitive breath test with your family doctor.