What is oral malodor?
Oral malodor, also known as halitosis or more informally known as bad breath, is very common in adults. As we all know, bad breath is treatable and can be prevented by cutting out certain foods and drinks; however, what we do not know is that bad breath can signify deeper oral health or serious medical issue.
The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. It is important for you to not only clean your teeth but also your whole mouth. Food particles can easily get trapped in between your teeth, which creates plaque, and on the surface of your tongue and tonsils. Just like how old food that has been sitting in your refrigerator can start to stink, old food left in your mouth from poor cleaning will also start to stink-causing bad breath. Not only will leftover food particles cause bad breath, it will also cause oral health conditions such as cavities and gum disease. Keeping a consistent oral care routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouth wash is the best defense against bad breath.
Some other causes of bad breath are:
Flavorful food and drink such as onions, garlic, vegetables, and spices are one of the most common causes for bad breath. The leftover food particles from those kinds of food can enter your bloodstream and get carried to the lungs. Once the food particles are in your lungs, each time you exhale the odor from the food will affect the odor of your breath. Not only will your breath stink, but once the food’s odor is in your bloodstream, the odor will also be released through your body’s pores causing body odor.
Another common cause of bad breath is coffee. Due to its strong, intense flavor and high levels of caffeine, coffee also has a direct effect on saliva production. After a strong cup of joe, the caffeine tends to hinder saliva production and less saliva means an increase in odor-causing bacteria. It’s undeniable that we all need a cup of coffee or two, or three, to get us through the day, so carry some mouth wash and drink some water after your coffee to help spark some saliva production.
Some obvious causes of bad breath are alcohol and smoking. Like coffee, an excess of alcohol consumption can result in a decrease in saliva production. As everyone may know, any type of tobacco products causes bad breath and can lead to more serious oral health issues. The damaging effects of tobacco products, such as damaged gum tissue, gum disease, and cancer, are irreversible.
Uncommon and overlooked causes of bad breath are certain diets and medication. Sugar tends to be the culprit when taking a closer look into what may be
causing bad breath. High sugar diets allow sugar to interact with the existing bacteria in your mouth causing sweet flavors into bitter smells. High-protein
or low-carb diets is another diet that contributes to bad breath. Not enough carbs and too much protein can affect your body’s metabolism which can
lead to bad breath. A common side effect of almost all prescription medicine is dry mouth. Dry mouth means less saliva production which means bad breath.
Odor-causing bacteria that lives in your mouth thrives in a dry mouth environment.
- Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Antiseptic mouthwash
- Brush teeth after meals
- Brush your tongue
- Replace your toothbrush every two to three months
- Floss regularly
- Regular dental check-ups
- Keep mouth moist by drinking water, sugarless gum, or sugar-free hard candy
- Avoid bad smelling foods
- Natural remedies—chew on mint or parsley