Do you often find yourself embarrassed by the scent of your breath? It’s common to have bad breath once in a while, especially after eating or right when you wake up from sleeping, but if you constantly keep your mouth closed to hide this unwanted stench, it may be a sign of bigger problems.
What’s behind your bad breath?
There are many potential causes of bad breath, medically known as halitosis. The following could be to blame:
- Bad dental hygiene habits: You should be brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and brushing or scraping your tongue to remove bacteria. Anything less is considered to be inadequate oral hygiene.
- Untreated tooth conditions: It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on inside your mouth and address issues as soon as you become aware of them. Gum disease is a major cause of bad breath and, if left untreated, can cause serious oral damage and increase your risk of developing general health problems.
- A parched mouth: Hydration is just as important for your oral cavity as it is for your entire body. Saliva helps to cleanse and remove bacteria from your mouth, and if your mouth is too dry, your saliva flow suffers. Drink plenty of clear fluids and swish your mouth with water after eating.
- Nasal drainage: If you have bad sinuses, nasal drainage can drip down the back of your throat, causing a bad odor. Drinking water can help, but taking sinus and allergy medication or seeing an ear, nose, and throat doctor may be your best bet.
- Gastric reflux: Gastric reflux, also known as GERD, can cause a sour taste in the mouth when stomach acid travels up the esophagus and into the mouth. Over-the-counter antacids can help with the odor and discomfort.
- Tobacco products: Smoking and the use of other tobacco products is one of the most common bad breath culprits. In addition to causing halitosis, smoking can contribute to dry mouth and gum disease.
- Neglected dentures: Unclean, uncared-for dentures are bad for your dental health overall and contribute to bad breath. It’s easy for dentures to develop a musty, fungus-like odor, so it’s important to clean them thoroughly every day.