It has happened to us all at least once, where we are in a situation where we think we might have bad breath and immediately distance ourselves from the people around us until we can find a mint or chewing gum. You may not even realise you have bad breath until someone points it out, which can be embarrassing.

To save ourselves from these potentially awkward situations, we need to combat bad breath, and to do so, you should know what causes it.

The causes of bad breath

Most of the reasons why we develop bad breath start in the mouth. The most common cause is in the food we eat. Onions, garlic and other spices are known to cause bad breath. Bacteria feeding off of food stuck in your teeth can also cause a bad smell.

Tobacco products leave a mouth odour and tobacco users are more likely to develop gum disease, which can also leave your breath smelling foul.

Neglecting your dental hygiene can cause your tongue to trap bacteria on its surface that create odours. The same as dentures that are not properly cleaned will harbor food particles and bacteria that are odour causing.

Dry mouth, the decrease in saliva production that causes morning breath, can affect some people more than others and result in continuous bad breath. Chronic dry mouth is the result of an issue with the salivary glands that can be treated. Some medications can also cause dry mouth and lead to bad breath.

Wounds in the mouth that become infected can cause bad breath, as well as infections of the nose, sinuses or throat.

Some diseases, such as certain types of cancers, and metabolic disorders, can cause breath odor as a result of chemicals they produce.

Preventative measures

Individuals who wish to avoid bad breath should practice daily dental hygiene, which includes brushing one’s teeth twice a day for two minutes, flossing once a day and using antibacterial mouthwash twice a day. Individuals who wear dentures should not neglect their duties in the care and maintenance of these dental devices.

Seeing your dentist at least twice a year will ensure any signs or symptoms of gum disease and dry mouth can be diagnosed and treated. Drinking lots of water will also help activate the production of saliva and wash away food particles that might get stuck in your teeth.
Desisting in the use of tobacco products and carrying gum or mints that contain xylitol also goes a long way to preventing bad breath and being able to smile and talk with confidence.