Why Do I have Bad Breath?
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common problem that can affect any person at any age, regardless of personal health. Bad breath can have many possible causes, but most issues with halitosis come down to preventable problems originating with poor oral hygiene. Other factors, such as diet or smoking, may also influence the occurrence of bad breath. In some more severe cases of bad breath, potentially serious health related conditions might be to blame. And at My Smiles Center we know all about it!
What the Symptoms of Bad Breath?
Living with symptoms of bad breath can be an embarrassing and stressful experience that can also negatively affect confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes, however, not everyone who suffers from bad breath may even be aware of the symptoms. It is important to recognize the symptoms of bad breath in order to properly diagnose possible causes and initiate proper treatment. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it might be helpful to seek advice from your dentist or physician.
Common symptoms of bad breath
- Greater levels of bad breath in the morning, also known as “morning breath.”
- A constant sour or bitter metallic taste
- Buildup of plaque and tarter around teeth
- Dry mouth
- Thickened saliva and mucus
- White coating on the tongue
There is no one single cause of bad breath. These symptoms can have multiple different causes and potential treatments. Some of these causes are described below.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Here ay My Smiles, we want you to better understand the causes of bad breath, and we need to understand the different forms of the condition. Bad breath can present as either short-term symptoms or as longer-term chronic bad breath. Short-term bad breath may involve completely different causes and different methods of treatment than longer-term chronic issues with bad breath.
Short-term (transient) Bad Breath
Short-term bad breath is characterized by transient symptoms that do not persist over time. These symptoms are most often only active in the presence of specific compounds, such as those in certain foods or other consumables. These temporary symptoms will also typically subside as halitosis inducing compounds are eliminated from diet.
Transient symptoms of bad breath often result from the process of bacteria breaking down food in the mouth. As bacteria consumes and breaks down the food, it can produce an unpleasant smelling gas as a byproduct. This gas is a primary contributing factor to bad breath. When oral hygiene is poor, more food particles will tend to be present in the mouth or trapped between teeth. This will lead to a greater number of bacteria present in the mouth and contributing to bad breath.
Foods containing higher levels of sulfur or animal proteins may also negatively affect breath more than others. Certain bacteria can become more active in the presence of sulfur rich foods and some other compounds to produce greater volumes of unpleasant smelling gas. Avoiding these foods will decrease the likelihood of developing symptoms of halitosis. Below is a list of common foods and substances that can contribute to short-term bad breath.
Common foods and consumables that can contribute to bad breath:
- Carbonated drinks
- Spicy foods which can affect digestion contributing to bad breath
- Fish and products containing fish which can break down into protein products that affect breath.
- Foods high in sulphur content such as garlic, onion, cabbage or meats
- Smoking cigarettes
Changes in diet and behaviors are the most successful methods for reducing transient symptoms of bad breath. If symptoms continue to persist despite following recommended changes in diet and behavior, it may be helpful to seek advice from your dental professional.
Long-term Chronic Bad Breath
Long-term symptoms of bad breath may result from more serious health conditions such as oral diseases and infections. In some cases, this may be indicative of tooth decay, infection in the mouth or elsewhere, or gastrointestinal issues. If you are suffering from long term bad breath, we advise that you book an appointment with us here at My Smiles Center, located in Des Plaines and Joliet, IL.
The build up of plaque associated with gingivitis and periodontitis, also known as gum disease, may contribute to the development of long-term chronic symptoms of bad breath. Bacteria which reproduce in the plaque can be directly responsible for development of bad breath and eventual gum disease. In cases of tooth decay, dental plaque will accumulate in the cavity giving more space for bacteria to grow and reproduce to cause bad breath.
Gastrointestinal issues such as limited digestion can further promote bad breath when only partially digested food is broken down further by bacteria in the stomach. Similar to bacteria in the mouth, these gut bacteria will produce gas as a byproduct which can lead to smelly burps and bad breath. Smoking or illness causing dry mouth can also become a major contributor to bad breath. Saliva helps wash away bacteria and food particles in the mouth, and when it becomes diminished, odor causing bacteria while have a greater effect on our oral health.
Treatments for Bad Breath
Many over the counter options are available to treat bad breath such as gum, mints, and mouthwashes but these products do not address the underlying causes of the condition. Changes in diet or oral health must ultimately occur in order to treat or reverse short-term issues with bad breath. These changes can include reducing contact with high sulfur content foods such as garlic or onions, reducing carbohydrates in diet which promote bacterial growth, and consuming more water at meals. Further short-term treatment recommendations and options can be available. For more information on how to treat bad breath, call us here at My Smiles and our dentists will be available to help you find a solution.
Longer-term chronic bad breath issues may require a more thorough diagnosis and treatment regimen by a medical professional. Many long-term symptoms of bad breath result from more severe oral health issues or issues related to illness or infection elsewhere in the body. For this reason, it is strongly encouraged to contact your dentist, My Smiles Center before self-diagnosing and attempting treatment.
Long-term treatment options for bad breath can include dental procedures such as surgery to remove plaque or tooth decay, nutritional supplements to combat digestion issues, and further testing to reveal any issues relating to diabetes, organ function, or gastrointestinal distress. The best options for diagnosis and treatment will be available at My Smiles Center and our dentists will be able to find the best and easy treatment for you.
Most issues associated with bad breath can be alleviated with daily flossing and brushing of teeth to improve oral health. This will reduce the buildup of food particles, tarter, and plaque which can lead to bad breath. Anti-microbial mouthwashes can also provide relief while temporarily combating the reemergence of odor causing bacteria. Seeing your dentist twice a year is also a great preventative measure to ensure you stay informed about the state of your oral health and receive the best treatment options. And to help you stay on top of your dental health, at My Smiles, we provide many discounts and easy access to our dentist via the booking tool online. We recommend you book an appointment at Des Plaines or Joliet, in order to take advantage of our great offers.
Our dentists at My Smiles, hope to see you soon and helping you with any issues that you may have. We believe that everyone should have a beautiful and healthy smile!