It’s never nice to be in a conversation with someone who doesn’t realize he or she has bad breath (especially if they are a ‘close talker’). And most of us want a fresher breath, but may not understand all the things that cause bad breath internally. Today’s article will show you how to fix the most common causes of halitosis.
Most of the time, this smelly situation is pretty harmless, and if anything, it’s just uncomfortable.
According to science, bad breath or halitosis occurs at the microbial level. Bad breath results from the bacteria in our mouth breaking down food debris between our teeth, on our gums and tongue.
From a more holistic perspective, looking at the wisdom of Ayurveda (ancient Indian medicine), they would agree with these statements as well. Ayurveda practitioners suspect that poor oral hygiene and, surprisingly, poor digestion are the main causes of bad breath.
Let’s take a closer look at these causes, along with twelve others. We’ll also look at some holistic solutions for overcoming bad breath.
The 10 Surprising Causes of Bad Breath and How to Treat Them
1. Compromised Immunity
At the heart of good overall health is a well-functioning immune system. In essence, our immune system continues to build antibodies to keep the body from being taken over by pathogens.
Many autoimmune diseases and any moment of weakened immunity are linked to halitosis. This is because bad bacteria in the mouth are not properly treated by the immune system.
There is a strong correlation between the immune system and dental health, to say the least. If you suspect this is the case, stick to building your immunity with gentle exercise, good sleep, and other basic healthy habits.
Alcohol lingers long after the last call. In fact, a 2007 study by researchers from Israel found that drinking alcohol was linked to an increased risk of halitosis – despite the fact that their subjects fasted for 12 hours at night and were allowed to brush their teeth in the morning.
The study authors suspected that drink not only dries out a person’s mouth, but that a certain odor is generated when the body metabolizes alcohol.
If you tend to get unusually foul-smelling breath after drinking, stick to a limit and don’t go past it. Also, a glass of water between drinks doesn’t help keep bad breath at bay, but it also helps control your drinking by making you feel fuller.
3. Dental appliances
We’re not just talking about braces: orthodontic appliances like dentures and fixed bridges can also be difficult to maintain. (Research also shows that dental appliances are associated with higher levels of plaque – that’s why a good cleaning regimen is so important.)
It’s important to clean them every day, says Dr. Grbic, because they are also the main magnets for food particles, which can get trapped in the material.
Your mom has already warned you that plaque buildup can erode your teeth, causing cavities. And while poor oral hygiene certainly contributes to bad breath, those ‘cavities’ can also indirectly cause halitosis: ‘Food can get into the cavities,’ explains Dr. your last meal may linger there longer than usual, which can then lead to more bad breath. (To be clear, yes, you need a refill.)
For fresh breath, following proper oral hygiene habits is very important. Good brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping are a few ways to prevent odor-inducing bacteria from building up on the teeth and tongue.
Certain medications – such as some antihistamines, diuretics, anti psychotics, and muscle relaxants – can cause side effects, including dry mouth, says Dr. Rifai. And that, in turn, can decrease the amount of saliva your mouth produces and increase the bacteria that camp there.
Since there is nothing you can do about your medication regimen, try cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper. According to the American Dental Association, your tongue is home to most of the bacteria that cause smelly breath, and scraping it off the surface can stop bad breath, at least temporarily.
Time to add to the list of health problems that can be caused by cigarettes. Unsurprisingly, not only does smoking increase the amount of odor-producing compounds in a person’s mouth and lungs, but the habit can also dry out your mouth, leading to lower saliva production, according to a 2004 review by Hong Kong researchers.
The EU Working Group on Tobacco and Oral Health discovered:
- Smoking often leads to discoloration of teeth and dental restorations.
- Halitosis, loss of taste and sense of smell are common side effects of smoking.
- Periodontal disease has increased in both prevalence and severity in smokers. Smoking cessation can stop the progression of the disease and improve the outcome of periodontal treatment.
- Oral cancer and precancer are much more common in smokers than in non-smokers.
- Quitting smoking significantly reduces the increased risk of oral cancer within 5–10 years.
- The dental implant failure rate is significantly higher in smokers than in non-smokers.The entire dental team must be aware of the relationship between smoking and dental problems and convey the message that non-smoking is the norm.
There are more serious reasons to quit smoking than bad breath. We’re not going to tear down the laundry list asking why it’s bad for your health, but here’s a good place to start if you’re trying to quit.
7. Stinky Foods
Sometimes bad breath is as simple as the food we eat. (Facebook quote) Common smelly foods like garlic and onions are notorious for producing unwanted breath.
However, there are other culprits as well, including certain herbs and calciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. These foods are also high in sulfur, which can produce an unpleasant odor.
As we’ll be discussing further, bad breath can stem from the digestive tract, so while these foods may not be unpleasant in taste, regurgitating it later can produce an unpleasant sulfur odor. When you eat this particular food, the sulfur compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream and then into the lungs where they can be expelled even hours after consumption.
Chew sugar-free gum after a particularly smelly meal. This stimulates the production of saliva to prevent bad mouth odors.
8. You just woke up
Waking up in the morning is perhaps the most obvious cause here. But let’s see why this is: During sleep, the body is actually busy detoxifying, repairing, and regenerating tissues.The bacteria in the mouth is also quite awake.
This is due to the fact that saliva production slows down dramatically during sleep. Since saliva plays an important role in cleaning the mouth and preventing pathogens from thriving, a build-up of bacteria can occur after sleep.
If this is the case then you have no fear, morning breathing is completely normal for most people and can be reversed with simple oral hygiene practices such as oil pulling.
9. A low-carbohydrate diet
People who lower their carbohydrate intake are known to report increased levels of halitosis. And in fact, when researchers at Yeshiva University compared subjects on a very low-carbohydrate diet to those on a low-fat diet, they found that more people in the former group reported bad breath than the latter.
However, it should also be noted that the low-fat dieters also confessed to having more belching (and, er, farts).
If a low-cab diet works for you, sugar-free gum and drinking more water can mask the order.
10. Bad digestion
Studies show that an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is in your intestines. The ratio of good to bad gut bacteria is a crucial indicator of the condition of your health. Healthy digestion is crucial for optimal overall health. There are billions of beneficial bacteria in your gut that affect many of your body functions, including your immune system.
Your gut should have a balance of about 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad. An imbalance between good and bad bacteria can predispose you to a host of health problems more serious than bad breath and body odor.
Having less than optimal gut flora can leave you vulnerable to health problems related to bad breath. A fishy smell in the breath indicates kidney problems, while a fruity-smelling breath can mean uncontrolled diabetes.
This is why reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria is essential for optimal health and disease prevention. But before I list the steps that will help you achieve this, understand how your diet plays an important role in your gut flora imbalance.
I hope these article helps you to discover how to treat bad breath, halitosis, and unpleasant smell coming from the mouth.