Causes and Treatment Methods of Bad Breath

What is Bad Breath?

Bad breath is a condition that can be embarrassing and discomforting for the individual. The cause of bad breath is usually due to the inability to maintain proper oral hygiene. However, if there is a persistent and bothersome odor despite oral hygiene practices, it can also be related to other medical conditions. The underlying reasons for long-lasting bad breath need to be investigated.

Typically, having an unpleasant odor in the mornings is considered physiologically normal. This occurs due to food and drinks consumed in the evening getting stuck between the teeth and accumulating on the tongue. This odor is not permanent and will dissipate after brushing the teeth and performing oral hygiene.

In some individuals, they may perceive their breath as bad even though there is no actual bad breath present. Those who are bothered by this condition can consult a dentist. Additionally, bad breath can develop due to oral conditions such as dental and gum diseases.

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Sometimes, bad odors can also originate from outside the mouth; these can be caused by diseases related to the stomach, nasal passages, and upper respiratory tract. In such cases, it is necessary to first investigate and treat the underlying cause.

What are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Bad breath can stem from dental hygiene habits and may also indicate other health issues. It can be exacerbated by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Daily brushing of teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash are crucial for oral hygiene. Failure to brush, floss, and use mouthwash can result in food particles lingering in the mouth. Leftover food particles between the teeth can lead to bacterial growth around the gums and tongue, resulting in bad breath. Antibacterial mouthwashes can help reduce odor. Additionally, improperly cleaned dentures can also cause bad breath if bacteria and food particles are not adequately removed.

Persistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth may also be a sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Plaque buildup on teeth and toxins irritating the gums can lead to gum diseases. If bad breath is due to gum disease, it should be treated as soon as possible. Untreated gum-related conditions can damage teeth and jawbones.

Other Causes That Can Lead to Bad Breath:

  • Oral thrush infections
  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Sinusitis
  • Tonsillitis
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Prolonged fasting
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking and tobacco products
  • Dry mouth
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disorders
  • Nasal and nasal septum disorders

Bad Breath as a Symptom of Which Diseases?

While bad breath itself is not a disease, it can be a symptom of many diseases. Physiologically, bad breath that occurs depending on the food you eat is considered normal. There are also pathological bad breaths caused by underlying conditions. These include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Sinusitis
  • Pharyngitis
  • Throat conditions such as adenoid hypertrophy
  • Digestive system disorders such as reflux and stomach problems
  • Diabetes
  • Liver failure
  • It can also be a sign of systemic diseases such as kidney failure.

Especially, the fruity smell resembling acetone in diabetic patients and the ammonia-like breath odor in kidney diseases are quite characteristic.

How is Bad Breath and Associated Diseases Diagnosed?

If the odor is originating from gum disease, your dentist can treat the condition. Bad breath can become so severe that it not only affects the individual but also disturbs those around them.

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In the presence of bad breath, it’s crucial to diagnose the underlying cause. An oral examination and X-rays can be conducted to detect tooth decay. Additionally, gum disease can be diagnosed through examination.

After an examination to investigate other potential causes of bad breath, various blood tests may be ordered.

How is Bad Breath Treated?

The underlying cause of bad breath may stem from inadequate oral hygiene. In such cases, ensuring thorough daily oral hygiene practices like brushing teeth effectively with fluoride toothpaste at least three times a day for a minimum of two minutes, cleaning between teeth with dental floss after every meal, and using antibacterial mouthwashes as needed can be effective.

In addition to dental care, specialized tongue brushes can be used throughout the day to clean bacteria accumulated on the tongue. If you wear dentures, they should be removed at night and thoroughly cleaned before being reinserted the next day.

Low water intake throughout the day can also contribute to bad breath. Drinking water stimulates saliva production, which helps cleanse the bacteria in the mouth. Moreover, quitting smoking can play a significant role in addressing bad breath.

If bad breath is caused by tooth decay or gum infections, appropriate treatment methods can be applied by a dentist to address the issue. Dental calculus (tartar) is another factor contributing to bad breath and should be cleaned professionally at least once a year. It is recommended for a healthy individual to undergo oral and dental examinations twice a year.

If despite good oral and dental care practices, persistent bad breath persists, underlying medical conditions should be investigated.

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