Bad Breath - Dental Tips that Take Your Breath Away
Updated: Apr 5
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When thinking about oral care, the first thing that might come to mind is healthy teeth and a shiny smile. But, the human mouth is a complex system where many events can lead to different issues, and bad breath is one of the most common ones.
Bad breath might not make you pay an emergency visit to the dentist, but it is a condition that needs to be treated effectively, as it can impact your daily routine, affecting your self-esteem and different social aspects of your life.
Moreover, around 25% of the world's population actively suffers from bad breath, turning it into a relatively common condition. Luckily, it is fairly easy to control and prevent. A good oral care routine could be enough to maintain a fresh smell. Nonetheless, a little help from your dentist is required on many occasions to solve this issue.
We will explain in this article what bad breath is, why it occurs, its relationship with your teeth, and how to achieve a fresh smell.
What is bad breath?
The term halitosis, commonly referred to as bad breath, is a frequent condition characterized by an unpleasant odor coming from the mouth that can usually be perceived while talking to people.
The main reason behind bad breath is large amounts of odor-producing bacteria present in the mouth. However, the reason why these bacteria are present and active can widely vary between people, ranging from the food you eat to oral infections or cavities.
The treatment for bad breath will depend on the underlying cause. Although a simple professional dental cleaning is enough to get rid of the odor most times, in some cases, you could need other procedures.
When is bad breath a problem?
It is normal to experience a certain degree of bad breath throughout your daily life.
Bad breath after waking up, also known as morning breath, is something everyone experiences. This type of bad breath will disappear right after brushing your teeth and does not represent any problem as it is totally normal.
To understand this, you need to know that, during your sleep, your mouth's salivary flow decreases considerably. It leaves your mouth dry and allows bacteria to proliferate. Fortunately, brushing will eliminate the excess of bacteria and restore balance while eliminating the odour.
The problem begins when your oral hygiene routine and traditional methods, such as eating mint candy, are not enough and only mask the odour temporarily. This is often an indicator of a more severe condition triggering the bad breath that should be evaluated by your dentist.
What could be causing your bad breath?
Your bad breath could be due to multiple reasons, some more obvious than others and usually related to issues with your teeth and gums. However, if you have bad breath and healthy teeth, the cause could be something that you may need to get seen to by a medical professional for a condition outside your mouth.
The most commonly bad breath reasons include:
One of the main reasons behind bad breath resides in your gums. Conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis are frequent among many people and are commonly associated with bad breath.
Gums disease is usually caused by calculus, a solid tissue that forms when the biofilm, also known as plaque, calcifies around the teeth. Calculus contains different types of bacteria that can't be removed by simply brushing.
Once large amounts of calculus are formed, bacteria in its interior will proliferate and start producing undesirable odours. Moreover, not only the bacteria in the calculus can give you bad breath. Gums disease itself is also capable of doing so.
Moreover, different types of bacteria are also present on swollen gums. As a result, just as with calculus, bad breath will begin to be noticed after the bacteria population starts to grow and break the natural microbial balance in the mouth.
Furthermore, gum disease causes bleeding. Although it usually happens while brushing your teeth, it can also happen throughout the day. Swollen gums are exceptionally delicate and prone to bleeding easily. Therefore, accidentally touching them or hurting them can make them bleed.
Most times saliva will clean the blood and remove any residues. However, blood can get dry and stuck between your teeth occasionally. This will eventually produce bad breath as the cells in the blood die and decompose.
Lastly, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which is a more aggressive periodontal disease that affects the bone, producing pockets between the gums and the teeth. Eventually, these pockets can contain calculus and numerous bacteria, releasing a highly unpleasant odour.
Infections and large cavities:
Dental problems can also be the cause of your bad breath. Although small cavities won't have any effect on your breath, large ones could be another story.
The bigger the cavity is, the larger the population of bacteria residing in its interior. You may not have bad breath, or it could be mild enough to not be noticed by others if you only have a tooth with a large cavity. However, having multiple teeth with large cavities is a synonym of having a large population of odour-producing bacteria residing inside your mouth.
Furthermore, extensive cavities can turn into abscesses that can be painful and give you bad breath at the same time. If they are big enough, they can start draining their content towards the mouth and increase your bad breath.
Another type of infection that is usually associated with bad breath is pericoronitis.
Pericoronitis is a frequent infection that affects the gums surrounding the third molars or wisdom teeth. Most times, it occurs when the tooth fails to fully erupt or when there is a tiny gum flap left over the tooth that can accumulate bacteria.
Smoking and dry mouth:
The mix of nicotine and other products contained within tobacco and cigarettes produces a strong odour that easily impregnates the mouth.
Moreover, smoking contributes to plaque formation, which leads to gum disease, turning it into a crucial element capable of giving you bad breath. Furthermore, smoking is also responsible for dry mouth, a serious condition that causes bad breath and other dental problems.
Dry mouth is a condition where the saliva flow is reduced, leaving the mouth unprotected against bacteria. Saliva is responsible for cleaning the mouth from food residues and excess bacteria. Therefore, having a dry mouth will result in bad breath.
It is essential to understand that smoking is not the only reason for dry mouth. Certain diseases and conditions such as issues with the salivary glands and the intake of some medicines can also cause dry mouth and bad breath.
Probably the most obvious reason for bad breath. Strong-smelling food is responsible for strong-smelling breath.
Certain foods can give you temporary bad breath that can be solved by brushing your teeth. However, consuming them frequently will also impact your breath in the long run.
After consuming these types of foods, such as onions, garlic, and spices, the smell can enter your bloodstream after digestion, making its way to your lungs and giving your breath the scent.
Furthermore, food leftovers trapped between your teeth also affect how your breath smells. Bacteria can use these leftovers as nutrients to survive, breaking them down and causing them to initiate a decomposition process, turning into bad breath.
Occasionally, the cause of bad breath could be away from your teeth and farther inside your body.
Also, the gastric acid odour can escape through your mouth, especially with excessive production or reflux. Furthermore, conditions such as kidney disease can cause bad breath with a characteristic ammonia smell.
Lastly, infections in areas close to the mouth such as the nose, sinuses, and throat can give you bad breath as they are all connected.
Bad breath in pregnancy
Bad breath in pregnancy is actually quite common. There are many changes that occur during the body during pregnancy and bad breath in pregnancy can occur due to the following issues
What causes bad breath during pregnancy?
1. Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes is the main causes as to why you may experience bad breath during pregnancy. The specific hormones in question are those which skyrocket during pregnancy, namely progesterone and estrogen. This actually increases plaque in your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque, then in turn produce Sulphur which is the smell which causes the bad breath.
2. Morning sickness
Morning sickness is one of the most common problems experienced by pregnant women. The symptom of this is vomiting which results in bad breath.
Pregnancy is known to cause dehydration. The lack of hydration reduces the saliva in the mouth and causes the bad breath. Thus it is quite important for pregnant women to increase their water intake during this time.
These reasons are the common ones that cause bad breath in pregnancy.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Bad Breath
This is a somewhat common occurrence and usually there are 4 main culprits for the bad breath that occurs with wisdom tooth removal bad breath
Bleeding and Blood Clots
bleeding, blood clotting and the blood in the area in general can cause an unpleasant taste in the mouth, which is generally associated with wisdom tooth removal bad breath. Also we must keep in mind that the mouth is a place where anaerobic bacteria can flourish in areas like this. The bacteria will also release an odour that is associated with bad breath. Generally a mouthwash is not recommended but rather rinsing your mouth and then using a salt water after the 24 hour mark.
Cleaning and Flossing
after the initial extraction of the wisdom tooth, it is advised for patients to not disturb the site of the extraction. As a result of this, it is expected that bacteria as mentioned may start to build up which can be responsible for the wisdom tooth removal bad breath. As mentioned, this can be alleviated somewhat with a salt water mouth rinse. When you do start to brush again, it is advised to start off with gentle brushes until the area is healed.
Number 3 on the list for wisdom tooth removal bad breath is the situation of the dry socket. First of all what is a dry socket? Basically a dry socket is when the blood clot, which protects the area and heals the area around the extraction, is not present in the socket (ie it comes out through one reason or another). Whilst this is actually quite a serious issue that should be looked at by a dentist, as it can lead to infection, it can actually also be the cause of bad breath after wisdom tooth removal. In simple terms, due to there being no blood clot in place, the nerve and even bone can be exposed, which a symptom is the bad breath. Added to this food debris can also find its way into the area, as also can bacteria, which as we have said previously, can be responsible for bad breath. The dry socket is known as one of the more common complications that can happen after the removal of wisdom teeth. Often this will occur after a few days post surgery. If you have this condition please contact and see your dentist as soon as possible, as they can clean and dress the area, which will then protect and stop further complications. They can clean any debris out and cover it with a medicated dressing to protect it. The dressing may be removed or replaced until the socket heals.
Generally you will find that it is medication that causes the mouth and saliva to dry up. Generally the saliva is quite protective to the mouth, and associated bad breath. Generally as well, the persistence of a dry mouth can also lead to the formation of bacteria, which as we have learn can cause bad breath.
How to prevent bad breath?
Bad breath can be easily prevented by making a few adjustments in your daily life.
Improving your oral health is the best way to maintain your breath fresh and free of unpleasant odours. Brushing your teeth twice a day will prevent gums disease from developing and caries (cavities) from causing any trouble to your teeth.
Conclusively, flossing and utilizing mouthwash after eating will remove any food residues left on the teeth that could give you bad breath. Similarly, paying attention to what you eat will also protect you. Remember that eating less food with strong smells can prevent it from penetrating your bloodstream and lungs.
Lastly, periodic dentist appointments can help keep your mouth healthy and free of any disease that could mess with your fresh breath. If you experience bad breath with healthy teeth and gums, remember that you should attend a consultation for a thorough evaluation to determine the cause.
Even though bad breath is a common condition that affects thousands of people, it is easy to control and prevent. Make sure to visit your dentist if your bad breath won't disappear after brushing, and he will help you achieve your fresh breath once again. Book your appointment with the best Morley dentist and Noranda dentist today with Dentista Dental Centre.