Bad Breath Causes
Usually bad breath has a simple cause – the food particles left in your mouth, which bacteria breaks down into sulfur compounds that smell something like rotten eggs. These bacteria are often difficult to reach since they need an oxygen-free environment to grow and so settle in pockets that surround your teeth and the grooves of your tongue. Poorly cleaned or ill-fitting dentures can also harbor bacteria and cause bad breath. Proper dental hygiene (brushing the teeth and the tongue, flossing, and regular cleansing of dentures) usually takes care of most bad breath problems.
Some of the things you ingest contain oils that are absorbed into the bloodstream and then are carried to your lungs, causing bad breath as you exhale until your body eliminates them from your system. Examples of these types of bad breath culprits are onions, some spices, and garlic. Other bad breath causing external agents include certain medications, coffee, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and alcoholic beverages (although alcohol is odorless, the grains, fruits and other components used to make alcoholic beverages break down and cause breath odors).
As well as what we ingest, mouth, nose, throat, and sinus conditions can be responsible for halitosis as can infections in your mouth or periodontitis (gum disease). Those ill with strep throat, tonsillitis, or mononucleosis may experience temporary bad breath until the infection is gone. The phlegm you cough up during a cold, bronchitis or other upper respiratory infection is another cause of bad breath.
Bad breath may also be caused by dieting, especially if your diet includes fasting. When deprived of food, your body begins breaking down stored proteins and nutrients as well as fat, a process called ketoacidosis that may result in “fruity” breath.
Diabetes may also be cause of “fruity breath” or “sweet breath” odor problems. Several other systemic illnesses can cause bad breath as well. Chronic lung infections or abscesses can be responsible for breath odors. Kidney disease may cause a urine-like odor and liver disorders may make your breath smell “fishy”. In addition, chronic reflux and haitial hernia are both physical problems that can cause bad breath.
As noted above, when bad breath is simply caused by poor oral hygiene, it is easily treated through regular brushing and flossing. Some other bad breath causes can also easily be eliminated with over the counter remedies or simply by abstaining from use (as in the case of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages). However, if you brush and floss regularly and still experience symptoms of bad breath, you should consult with a health professional to rule out any medical causes of bad breath and receive appropriate treatment for bad breath.
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