Have you ever had a friend step back from your conversation and immediately you think “Why do I have bad breath?” While our breath might make us feel self-conscious, it might be revealing clues about your health, too. Understanding what causes bad breath is critical in the effort to offer a more pleasant aroma with your words.
What Makes Up That Odor?
When the wind blows across the ground, it picks up the scent of whatever it whips over. It could be aromatic roses or a pile of buffalo manure, but odor molecules bind to smell receptors in our nasal passages and our brains translate the message.
As moist, warm air flows out of our lungs and across the mucosal covering of the throat and mouth, it acts a lot like the wind. Any odors drifting off tissues or teeth are carried along to our neighbors' noses. Garlic carries a distinct reputation thanks to potent molecules with a unique odor profile. “Coffee breath” also leaves its mark on many visits.
Sometimes, bad breath is related to underlying health concerns. Diabetes, bronchitis, liver conditions, or respiratory infections can carry a bad odor. A host of prescription drugs are known to reduce saliva production and cause a dry mouth condition. If you haven’t had a physical and blood tests in the recent past, it’s always a good idea to have your doctor check for these possibilities. If you’re taking an anti-depressant or high blood pressure medication and your mouth is dry, don't be surprised. These drugs are known to dry people out. But don’t stop taking your medication! Always talk to your physician about side effects, and be sure to let us know what you're taking.
The Key Issue
While bad breath can show up due to systemic health problems and certain medicines, chances are it's really about those pesky bacteria. Our mouths provide an ideal home for bacteria and their waste products, including gases and toxic compounds. Some bacteria release a sulfur gas that just smells nasty and taints your breath. Even though so many bacteria make the mouth their home, it doesn’t mean bad breath is inevitable.
When you wake up at the break of dawn, you’re going to emit a little morning breath. During your sleep, the amount of saliva you produce drops by 90%. This dry, parched landscape is perfect for bacterial overgrowth and their nasty sulfur gases.
Cavities, inflamed gums, excessive calculus, or poorly maintained dentures are bacteria-related problems, as well. There’s a difference though. These problems need professional follow-up by your dentist. So if you’re frustrated with bad breath, make sure you’re completely caught up on your dental check-ups. Gum disease tends to have a distinct smell that you're not going to just brush away. In many cases, these problems don’t involve pain, and odor can be your only sign that something isn't quite right.
Ok. But How Do I Reverse Bad Breath?
You might be a champion with your daily routine. You never fail to brush and floss like a hero. More so, you never miss the hour with your favorite hygienist twice each year. But you can’t figure out, “Why do I have bad breath?”
It’s easy to overlook the quiet, yet prominent, member of the oral cavity: The tongue. If you really look at the surface of your tongue under a microscope, you see a thickly textured surface that provides us with taste and feel. It’s a little like a shag carpet. Have you ever seen what comes out of a carpet after shampooing, even when it looks decent on top to the naked eye? That’s not much different than your tongue.
A conglomeration of food by-products, bacteria, and dead tissue cells get matted down into this surface. A toxic mix of debris ends up stuck, and that can be a major reason for bad breath, even in the most conscientious people. If this is true, then learning to clean the tongue might make a big difference for your bad breath problem.
Using your favorite toothbrush, brush your tongue as far back as you can without causing yourself to gag. Scrub both sides and the top with a little enthusiasm. Include your favorite toothpaste to produce a foamy, fresh slurry to freshen everything up.
The best way to really freshen the tongue is to engage a tool designed to complete the task. Tongue cleaners aren’t complicated, but they're really effective. If you've ever used a thatching rake on your backyard to drag out the dead stuff, you'll understand how it works. A tongue cleaner could be just what your dentists ordered, and starting your day with this simple tool might boost your breath...and your confidence.
Many people want to reach for a mouthwash if they're looking for ways to freshen bad breath. Unfortunately, you may end up amplifying the situation. Most rinses are comprised of plenty of alcohol that dries out the mouth. This drying effect lowers the pH. Rinses are a lot like perfume for the mouth. Perfume might hide body odor, but it doesn’t fix the source problem. A mouth rinse might cover up the offensive odor for a while, but it doesn’t take care of the root cause.
Alcohol-free rinses work differently and offer a worthwhile way to test a swish and spit routine. These products bind sulfur gas, produce a neutral pH, and wipe out 99% of the odor-causing bacteria. Closys products earned approval by the American Dental Association, and offer a solid record of helping people who are asking “Why do I have bad breath?”
Be cautious if you choose to cover up bad breath with mints, candies, and menthol cough drops. Most are chock full of sugar and increase the acidity of the oral environment. You could go from perfect teeth to a whole bunch of cavities with this destructive habit. A good alternative includes xylitol-sweetened candies, and you’ll discover a few options online or in your local pharmacy. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that works differently than other products. It actually disturbs your bad mouth bacteria and prevents them from prospering. Use it.
The Bottom Line
At this point, you should have a few more ideas about “Why do I have bad breath?” To put it into a take-home message, here’s what you need to remember:
- Check out your overall health with your medical doctor. Be sure to discuss side-effects of any medications you're using.
- Don’t skip regular dental visits and complete treatment recommendations. Follow-through pays big dividends.
- Establish the best home oral care habits including brushing and flossing. Consider an electric toothbrush or a water flosser you can take anywhere. They really work in your favor.
- Add a tongue-scraper to your morning routine.
- Check out the valuable fresh-breath products from Closys.
At DentalChat, we bring patients and dentists together online for real conversations. Our real-time platform helps you find the answers and resources you need. Looking for a dentist in your area? Start chatting now and get the help you need.
- Having Bad Breath Questions, Ask About Halitosis Question Online / Ask Why Have Bad Breath, Bad Breath Chat, Online Bad Breath Question Chatting & Halitosis Question:
In this online dentist blog, we discussed why people have bad breath or what is dentally termed as a halitosis problem. Bad breath as we learned in this local dental blog can be caused by various reasons. Ask Dentist WhyBad Breath Getting and Halitosis Chat Online with us at DentalChat.