Bad breath, or halitosis, can be humiliating. Yet we’ve all experienced it. Even worse, it’s estimated that at least 50 million Americans suffer from chronic bad breath. People are often reluctant to talk about their oral health problems, meaning most people with halitosis are suffering in silence.

Bad breath

It’s time to banish your embarrassment about your breath. Halitosis can be triggered by many things, most of which you can take care of yourself. Freshening up your breath may be as simple as tweaking your diet or brushing your teeth more often.

Here are the most common reasons for bad breath.

You’re Dehydrated

When you’re parched, bacteria camp out in your mouth and feed on leftover bits of food. Saliva has natural protections that shield your teeth from cavities. When your saliva production falters, it creates an environment that allows harmful bacteria to thrive.

The fix? Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. You can also encourage saliva flow by chewing sugar-free gum.

You’re Eating Strong-Smelling Food

There’s a reason they warn people not to eat garlic before a date. Certain foods have strong odors that linger in your mouth long after you’re done consuming them. Luckily, you can curb these smells by popping a mint or brushing your teeth.

You’re Sick

Health problems can alter the way your breath smells. Too much ammonia could be a sign of approaching renal failure. An excess of methylamine is sometimes seen with kidney and liver disease.

This is why it’s important to see your dentist if you have persistent bad breath. Michigan practice44 West Dental notes that they “offer a wide range of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic services…”

Your dentist can spot potential problems in time to save you significant pain.

You have Gum Disease

Gum disease can wreak havoc on your health. If too much plaque builds up on your teeth, it’ll harden and become very hard to remove.

Gum disease should be treated by a dentist. You might need antibiotics or even surgery.

You Have Poor Dental Hygiene Habits

Life is busy and sometimes we forget to brush and floss as often as we should. Food particles that remain in your mouth can start to smell. As the bacteria continue to build up, the problem gets worse. Eventually, your gums will become irritated.

You can take care of shoddy hygiene habits by getting into a routine. Brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash.

You Have Tonsillitis

The same “bad” bacteria that cause halitosis can also trigger tonsillitis. You should worry about this if you have a sore throat in addition to bad breath.

You’re Eating Too Much Sugar

Bacteria flourish on sugar. If your diet is full of sugary foods, it can eventually lead to cavities. As the bacteria feast on the sugar, acidic plaque is created, which then bores holes into your teeth.

One of the best ways to protect your teeth from cavities and from bad breath is to cut out sugary treats.

You Have an Ulcer

The bacteria that leads to stomach ulcers can also affect your breath. Symptoms to watch out for include intense stomach pain and trouble eating.

Your Sinuses are Clogged

A sinus infection can cause bad breath. You might cough up smelly phlegm or your sinus cavities may become clogged with mucus and bacteria.

Sinusitis can be triggered by an infection or allergies.

You’re Taking Medication

A lot of medications cause dry mouth, which in turn triggers bad breath. If you believe that your medication is responsiblefor your halitosis, you need to see your doctor. It’s possible that there are things you can to do to elevate your saliva productions.

You’re a Smoker

Tobacco can have a very noticeableeffect on your breath. In addition, smokers are prone to gum to disease and oral healthproblems, further heightening their chance of having bad breath.

The simplest way to take care of tobacco-breath is to stop smoking. If that’s not an option, breath mints and gum can also help.

Bad breath can be an annoying problem but you can usually fix it. The key to sweet-smelling breath is staying on top of your dental hygiene. Preventative care is critical. You can also help your breath by cleaning up your diet. Sugary foods can destroy your health and lead to an explosion of harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Even though most causes of bad breath are ultimately harmless and easily treated, you need to see a dentist if the problem persists. Bad breath can also be a sign of a serious health problem.

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