Bad breath happens. If you’ve ever gotten that not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or just talking with friends, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath at some point in their lives.
There are a number of reasons you might have bad breath. While many causes are harmless, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something more serious. Following are some of the harmless culprits.
- Happy Hour: A night out could give you more than a hangover. Even though it's a liquid, alcohol can actually dry out your mouth, which encourages the bacteria that cause halitosis (the medical term for bad breath).
- Your Tongue: Bacteria on the tongue is the leading cause of bad breath. Clean yours with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Scrapers will do a slightly better job.
- Low-Carb Diet: When you cut out carbs and boost the amount of protein you eat, your body starts burning fat for energy and creating compounds called ketones, which cause bad breath. In this case, better dental hygiene won't solve the problem, since that's not the root cause.
- Common Cold: As if they weren't annoying enough, respiratory tract infections like colds and bronchitis can also give you bad breath. That's because odor-causing bacteria like to feed on mucus, and if you have a stuffy nose, you're more likely to resort to mouth-breathing, which can dry out your mouth.
- Ulcer: OK, the ulcer itself may not be the problem. But a type of bacteria that causes ulcers can also trigger bad breath. Treating the bacteria may get rid of the odor.
- Medications: More than 400 prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including antidepressants and allergy remedies, can stifle saliva flow. This fluid helps wash away food and bacteria, keeping bad breath at bay. Changing your meds isn't always an option, so the ADA recommends you stay hydrated and chew sugarless gum to keep your mouth moist.
- Acid Reflux or Heartburn: These are two symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a common digestive disorder. Your bad breath may be from some undigested food coming back up, or it could be that irritation from stomach acid is giving you postnasal drip.
- Cracked Teeth and Fillings: These can trap food particles and breed bacteria, resulting in cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Ill-fitting dentures can cause the same problems.
Bad breath can cause embarrassment in social situations. If you’re tired of living with bad breath and want to get to the source of it, call our office today to schedule a consultation.