What causes bad breath? If you, or a loved one has bad breath that just won’t go away, you may be dealing with halitosis. So, what causes it and how can you treat it? Stick around to find out.
What is Halitosis?
Halitosis, or bad breath, is typically caused by sulfur-producing bacteria. These bacteria live on the surface of the tongue and in the throat. Sometimes, they start to break down protein at a very fast rate, creating odorous volatile sulfur compounds (VSC).
Halitosis is not contagious. Around 2.4% of adults suffer from bad breath, but fortunately, there are ways to treat this condition. But first, let’s talk about what causes it.
What causes bad breath?
Other than the sulfur-producing bacteria, the other major causes of halitosis are:
- Dry mouth- caused by alcohol, stress, medications, and medical conditions
- Dental factors like periodontitis or poor oral hygiene
- Smoking, which starves the mouth of oxygen.
Other less common causes include:
- Acid and bile reflux
- Post-nasal discharge
- Kidney failure, various carcinomas, metabolic dysfunctions, and biochemical disorders.
- Certain foods like onions, garlic, and cauliflower. However, this is temporary.
Symptoms of Halitosis
- A white coating on the tongue, especially at the back
- Build up around the teeth
- Dry mouth
- Morning bad breath
- Constant sour, bitter metallic taste
- Post-nasal drip, or mucous
- Thick saliva and a constant need to clear your throat
Treatments for Bad Breath
There is no one treatment, it will depend on what is causing your bad breath. A good first step is to make sure you are well hydrated and maintain good oral hygiene. Additionally, some mouthwashes, lozenges and toothpastes can help fight bad breath.
Another important action is to clean the tongue. Gentle, but effective tongue cleaning can help fight bacteria growth. Many tongue brushes and scrapers are available. Brush gently from the back to the front of the tongue and pay special attention to the hard-to-reach areas, as those will smell the worst.
When to Get Help for Bad Breath
If at home treatments aren’t working, it may be time to speak to your dentist about your bad breath. To schedule an appointment, please contact Hackley DDS today.