Why Do I Have Bad Breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have halitosis, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.

There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the most common reason is due to deposits of microbes on the tongue, particularly the back of the tongue. Studies have shown that brushing the tongue or using a tongue scraper can reduce halitosis by as much as 70 percent.

Other Potential Causes of Bad Breath

  • Morning mouth – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and without salivary cleansing action, bacteria grows unhindered, causing halitosis.
  • Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream and are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled & shared with those around you.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles left in the mouth promote bacterial growth, which contributes to foul breath. Regular brushing and flossing is key!
  • Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria & food debris cause calculus under the gumline. This damages gums and emits a telltale unpleasant smell.
  • Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances.
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – This condition can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
  • Tobacco products – These products dry your mouth, which contributes to unpleasant breath.
  • Dieting – Chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat. This is more common with high protein ketogenic diets.
  • Dehydration and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow which helps wash away bacteria.
  • Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, kidney and liver problems, bronchitis, sinus infections and pneumonia are conditions that may contribute to halitosis.
  • Tonsil stones — Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths, are mineralizations of debris within the crevices of the tonsils. The primary symptom is bad breath.

If you’re concerned that a dental condition may be causing your bad breath, we can evaluate your oral health at our Carrollwood or Wesley Chapel locations. Make an appointment today!

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