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Bad breath, or halitosis, can be embarrassing and detrimental to one’s social life. Even if you think your breath is generally fresh and odor-free, there may be underlying problems causing your bad breath. Here are some common causes of bad breath, and what you can do about them.
- Gum disease
- Dry mouth
- Food intake
Certain foods can cause bad breath. Onions, garlic, and other allium vegetables contain high levels of sulfur. When eaten, they can cause a pungent odor. Other foods like coffee, alcohol and spicy foods can also cause bad breath.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription drugs can cause dry mouth. In fact, some prescription medications list dry mouth as one of the common side effects.
Dry mouth happens when your body doesn’t produce enough saliva. While dry mouth causes a number of oral health problems, it can also cause bad breath. This is because bacteria can build up in your mouth, where saliva normally washes it away.
Many medical conditions can cause bad breath. In fact, 95 percent of chronic halitosis is caused by an underlying systemic disease. Not brushing and flossing regularly, or smoking or chewing tobacco, can cause bad breath, too.
Other causes of bad breath include the following:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Acid reflux
- Cysts or tumors in the nose or mouth
- Low saliva production
- Dry mouth
- Tonsil stones
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor diet
Bad breath can be caused by a number of dental issues. The most common cause is food getting stuck in or between your teeth. A buildup of bacteria causes a foul odor. Other dental conditions that can cause bad breath include oral infection, gum disease, dry mouth (also called xerostomia), and oral cancer.
Nobody likes dealing with bad breath, but unfortunately, it’s a common problem. Some common factors that lead to bad breath include poor dental hygiene habits, decay, dry mouth, and gum disease. Unfortunately, in most cases, bad breath is the result of a combination of factors rather than a single cause.
Most cases of halitosis, or persistent bad breath, result from poor oral hygiene habits. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, food particles, bacteria, and plaque build up on your teeth. This can cause bad breath, tooth discoloration, and dental disease.
Tobacco use is one of the top causes of bad breath, along with habits like smoking and chewing. Tobacco products contain toxins that coat the teeth and tongue, creating a less-than-appealing scent. Additionally, tobacco use causes dry mouth, which can lead to foul smelling breath.