What are the causes of stinky breath?

Have you ever been stuck talking to someone who’s breath wasn’t overly pleasant or worse, downright stinky? It can be one of those awkward social situations, do you say something or just try and cut the conversation short?

Occasional bad breath

Sometimes bad breath, or halitosis, can be simply because we’ve decided to indulge in a little extra raw onion or a loaf of garlic bread, or we have been in such a rush to get to work, school or the gym that we’ve forgotten to clean our teeth in the morning. Coffee breath is such a bummer!

It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes, and other products designed to fight bad breath.  Sadly, most of these products really are just temporary measures. They simply mask the issue for a short time.

There are many causes of occasional or an intermittent case of bad breath such as, acid reflux, eating strong smelling foods like garlic and onion, or simply being unwell with a sore throat or respiratory infection. These are part of life and pretty normal if they are kept in check.

But there is a big difference between these sorts of causes AND having chronic halitosis.

Chronic Halitosis

Chronic halitosis (that is, bad breath on a daily, or very regular basis) is often the result of tooth decay, gum disease or a coated tongue. It’s caused by a build-up of hundreds of bacteria on the tongue, gums, and throat.  They live on the tongue or below the gum-line or in pockets created by gum disease between your gums and teeth.

That type of bacteria doesn’t need light to survive, so it burrows down into the roots and can create real problems. YUK. 🤢

Chronic bad breath will most definitely need a trip to the dentist to ascertain the cause.  Leaving any form of gum disease and tooth decay too long may ultimately lead to more serious health problems – and likely more expense – down the track.  That is something you DON’T want.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth is also a condition that can lead to bad breath. Smoking or certain medications can cause dry mouth, along with some foods, like caffeine and alcohol.

Dry mouth is caused by slowing saliva production, when there is not enough saliva in the mouth to wash out the bacteria which then results in a build-up of food particles and nasty bacteria that will cause that horrible smell.

That is why brushing and flossing is SO IMPORTANT to manage or eliminate bad breath – to clean out all those pockets in your mouth which can fill with bacteria.  It also helps if you drink plenty of water and swish cool water around your mouth to help to freshen up that dreaded “morning breath.”

Covering up bad breath with a bottle of strong mouth wash will only work in the short term. It will help with the smell briefly but it won’t eliminate the cause of the problem. In fact, mouth washes which contain alcohol can sometimes dry out your mouth and make things worse.

If you think your bad breath, or the bad breath of a family member, could be the result of an oral hygiene issue we would highly recommend you drop us a line at Jannali Dental Care and book in for an appointment.  That way we can check it out for you properly.

Learning proper dental hygiene is the first and best step to achieving fresh breath. Bad breath can feel embarrassing, but it really doesn’t need to be that way. And mostly the causes are a pretty simple fix.

Regular dental check-ups and cleans are also very important. ☑️  If you need a dentist in the Sutherland Shire, come and see us!

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