Causes of Halitosis (bad breath)

For many, especially women, halitosis, that is, bad breath is not a condition that should be experienced. It is an oral health problem where the main symptom is bad smelling breath and in most cases, it is a preventable condition that can be curbed or treated by finding the cause of the bad breath and change in hygiene or routine.

There are many sources of bacteria in the mouth, there are also many causes of bad breath. Halitosis may be caused by some certain foods such as garlic and onions, or any food that is absorbed into the bloodstream because until that food leaves the body, it has the potential to affect breath.

Other factors include improper cleaning of dentures, poor oral health care, bacteria on the tongue, alcohol drying out the mouth and encouraging bacteria, drinks with caffeine and spicy food, common cold because odor-causing bacteria like to feed on mucus, bacteria that causes ulcers, medications that stifle saliva flow, tonsil stones, that is, whitish clusters of hardened food particles, dead cells and mucus that get trapped in the ridges of the tonsils and the back of the tongue, not cleaning the teeth after eating dried fruit as well as cracked teeth and fillings that trap food particles and breed bacteria.

A major factor is periodontal disease which gives bad-smelling breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. It can be caused majorly by tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars; smokeless tobacco and snuff stain the teeth. It leads to other conditions like loss of ability to taste, irritated gums and oral cancer

However, bad breath may be a symptom of certain conditions; respiratory infection in the nose, windpipe or lungs, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis and chronic sinusitis; liver or kidney disorder, diabetes and gastrointestinal disorder.

Main symptom of halitosis is a bad odour from the mouth that is considered beyond a socially acceptable level which can be worse in the morning or after smoking, drinking coffee, or eating certain foods such as garlic. And treatment depends on the cause.

If the bad breath is due to improper oral healthcare, a visit to the dentist is needed, even when it is as a result of gum disease and if it is caused by a health condition, diagnosis and treatment of an existing health condition may get rid of the bad breath.

It is, however, easy to prevent halitosis by a change of habit and oral routine; brush and floss twice a day and ensure you brush your tongue, cheeks and the roof of your mouth. Focus on the tongue because it is the domain of most bad breath bacteria, this makes a big difference.

For smokers, quitting will lead to a better smelling breath and a healthier body. And if you have dentures, take them out at night and clean them completely before putting them back in your mouth.

Then, keep your saliva flowing by eating healthy foods that make you chew. Regular visit to the dentist for check-ups is also important.