Why do I have bad breath?
Bad breath happens. If you’ve ever gotten that not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or just talking with friends, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives. If you hate your current job, be glad you weren’t one of the data collectors in those studies!
So what can cause bad breath? Bad breath can happen for many harmless reasons, but there are some concerning causes of bad breath as well. Foods like onions, garlic, coffee and a long list of others that may be eaten regularly. What you eat, affects what you exhale. Bacteria can also cause bad breath. Thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally live in your mouth, your mouth can act like a hothouse that allows these bacteria to grow. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leave a foul-smelling waste product behind. Dry Mouth, called xerostomia, can also contribute to bad breath. Saliva is important because it works around the clock to wash out your mouth. If your mouth isn’t making as much saliva as it should, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems or by simply breathing through your mouth. Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and puts you at risk for a host of health problems. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how their breath smells.
Some more serious reasons that bad breath occurs are Gum Disease and certain medical conditions. Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by a sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque. Gum or tooth infections can cause bad breath. However, if your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, be sure to report this to your healthcare provider.