There are a few different causes of bad breath. Ranging from stomach problems to diet and teeth problems, most of the causes can be found in the mouth. They are:
- Tongue (when bacteria grows in between the papilla). If you look under a microscope the tongue is not smooth. In fact it has a lot of small areas for bacteria and hide. It is important for you to brush your tongue when you brush your teeth.
- Teeth cavities (especially when food particles get stuck in them). Cavities are caused by bacterial infection. The bacteria will cause destruction and small craters in your teeth, which then become food and plaque traps. It is important for you to take care of the cavities before the bacteria travels to the nerve which will then lead to an abscess. This then becomes serious since the bacteria in the abscess can travel to other parts of the body.
- Gum diseases which is a bacterial infection of the gums. It is important for you to have regular professional scaling (cleanings) to remove the plaque, food and bacteria that gets trapped underneath the gum. When we brush our teeth we can easily clean above the gums but it is very difficult to clean underneath the gums.
- Extraction sites during healing can become a food, plaque and bacterial trap. It is important for you to rinse your mouth regularly and especially after you eat to keep the extraction site as clean as possible.
- Dentures when not cleaned properly. These prosthesis trap bacteria and food particles. The food then ferments and release a bad taste and odor.
- Alcohol and tobacco
If you or someone you know is concerned about bad breath, the first step is a dental check up. Your dentist will be able to confirm or rule out the source of the bad breath.
When the cause is found, treatment will be determined and explained by your dentist. If the source of the bad breath is your mouth, there is little chance that mouth washes or mints can treat the problem. They usually mask the problem for a short period of time, and can sometimes exacerbate the situation (mouthwashes that contain alcohol cause dry mouth and usually make the bad breath worse).
These are a few other, non-dental reasons that cause bad breath:
- Sore throat
- Some food
- Infection of air passages
Following a good oral hygiene routine and receiving regular dental check ups are the best ways to prevent bad breath.