There are many causes of bad breath or halitosis, but the most common is poor oral hygiene resulting in a build-up of bacteria in your mouth. If there is any food trapped between your teeth or in cavities, this can be broken down by the bacteria and cause the release of an unpleasant-smelling gas. Gum disease can also cause bad breath.
A diet containing foods that are strongly flavoured can also make your breath smell, as can alcohol and smoking. Certain medications and some illnesses can also be a cause.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is the commonest cause of bad breath. Regular brushing and flossing prevents the build up of plaque and removes food that would otherwise be broken down by bacteria, causing unpleasant smelling breath. Bacteria can also be found on the tongue and therefore cleaning your tongue can help to prevent bad breath; however, according to Scientific American, it may be more important to encourage helpful bacteria in the mouth rather than destroying the bad bacteria.
Food and Drink
Food such as garlic, spices and onions may make your breath smell, and alcohol and strong coffee can have the same effect. This is usually a temporary situation and can be avoided by not eating or drinking the offending foods. According to the clinical director of London Smiling Dental Group, Dr Uchenna Okoye, most people could cure their bad breath by doubling the amount of water they drink.
In addition to causing bad breath, smoking can stain your teeth, reduce your sense of taste and irritate your gums. It also increases the risk of developing gum disease, which is another cause of bad breath.
Low carbohydrate diets and fasting can cause bad breath due to the ketones that are produced when the body breaks down fat.
Some medicines can cause bad breath. These include the nitrates used for the treatment of angina, some tranquillisers, and some chemotherapy medications.
Sometimes the cause of bad breath can be a medical condition such as some gastrointestinal problems, an infection, sinusitis or diabetes. In certain cases your GP may refer you to an ENT surgeon in Kent such as www.julianhamann.com for treatment.
Fortunately most cases of halitosis can be completely cured by practising good oral hygiene.