Bad Breath (Halitosis) (cont.)
Bad Breath Causes
Bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by a variety of things including diet,
medication, poor oral hygiene, and diseases or conditions such as diabetes,
GERD, lactose intolerance, gum disease, and more. Treatment for bad breath
depends on the cause.
There are many things that can cause bad breath, including the following:
- When a person does not brush or floss their teeth thoroughly, food
particles may remain in the mouth. These particles may rot and cause foul odors. In addition, food particles
over time can promote the growth of
bacteria, which can
also cause foul odors. The bacteria can also lead to
tooth decay and
- Foods with strong odors also affect the air a person exhales. Foods commonly
known to contribute to bad breath include onions and
garlic, exotic spices
(such as curry), some cheeses, fish, and acidic beverages such as
are absorbed into the bloodstream and then transferred to the lungs, causing
noticeable odors when exhaled. These foods may also cause
and belching, which can contribute to bad breath. In addition, certain
supplements such as fish oil capsules can contribute to bad breath.
carbohydrate diets may also cause what is known as 'ketone breath.'
So-called 'low carb' diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source. The
end-product of making this energy are ketones, which cause a fruity acetone-like
odor on the breath when exhaled.
- Bad breath can also be caused by decreased flow of
saliva, which is a
part of the digestive process and removes odor-causing particles in the mouth.
Also called xerostomia, dry mouth
may be caused by medications, breathing
through the mouth, or salivary gland problems.
- In addition to causing bad breath,
smoking or chewing tobacco-based products
can stain teeth, irritate gum tissue, and
exacerbate tooth decay.
Certain medical disorders may cause bad breath, for example:
Dentures or Dental Appliances
- Dentures or dental appliances, such as braces, can contribute to bad breath.
Most often it is due to food particles that are not properly cleansed from the
appliances. Loose-fitting dentures can contribute to sores and localized
infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.
- Overnight, bacteria accumulate in the mouth, causing bad breath that is
commonly referred to as 'morning breath.' Some people breathe through their
mouth at night, which can cause dry mouth and worsen morning breath.
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