Causes of Bad Breath: Why Our Breath Stinks?
As known as bad breath, or malodor. And what most people wake up with in the morning after sleeping because the bacteria in the mouth had the whole night to wreck havoc.
Interestingly, did you know that most people with bad breath cannot actually smell it on ourselves? The impact of bad breath is multifactorial. It can lower self esteem; provides alarm for potential diseased conditions in the body; and affects relationships with close ones.
Bad breath needs not be endured quietly nor should it be ignored.We are not alone and there are many ways that we can prevent and eliminate bad breath. With a few simple tips and tricks, we can all work towards having fresher breath and healthier bodies!
There are many causes of bad breath. We can broadly categorize them into 2 categories – physiological and pathological causes.
Physiological causes are habitual events like choice of diet ( alcohol, onions, garlic, fish etc can cause bad breath); unhealthy lifestyle habits (smoking, chewing tobacco leaves or betel nuts etc) or even aging, where metabolic rates affect the health of our gums and teeth.
Pathological causes have bases in diseases. Interestingly, even though we experience bad breath through our mouths, the sources of bad breath does not simply just come from the oral cavity itself. We can also experience bad breath when there are problems in other parts of the body.
Oral cavity wise, bad breath can stem from diseased oral states such as excess plaque and calculus, coatings on tongue, tooth decay and gum diseases, etc. Extending further, it can also be due to certain medication (for example aspirin) that we take to counter symptoms of illnesses, as they can be drying and reduces saliva production. Saliva is important as it can help rinse away the bacteria that causes the bad breath.
People with systemic illnesses such as lymphoma, can lead to poor gum health, which can result in bad breath. Likewise, people with diabetes tend to have breath that is described as cloyingly sweet, while people with lung issues such as pneumonia tend to rather putrid smelling breath.
We think it is quite amazing that we can help raise awareness on the conditions of other parts of our body just by being able to detect the subtle differences in the smell of our breath. How our breath smells can tell us a lot about the state of our health.
Treatment wise, it is important to pinpoint the source of bad breath as it impacts the treatment protocol used in eliminating/ lessening bad breath. That being said, it is also crucial to maintain proper oral hygiene as that can help reduce bad breath drastically. We can take care to prevent tooth decay and gum diseases, and treat our tongue and other portions of the oral cavity with care.
Brushing the teeth and tongue and other parts of the oral cavity after each meal, is a good step in promoting fresher breath. Here are a couple of comparison charts on some of the toothbrushes and fluoride free toothpastes we like.
For those DIYers out there, we can try our hands in making our own toothpaste and mouthwash with a few simple ingredients from the kitchen.
It’s super simple and cost effective! Gargling in salt water or baking soda mouthwash (1 part baking soda: 10 parts water) can also help to neutralize the odor. For those who prefer to buy ready made mouthwashes, here are a couple of alcohol free mouthwashes you may want to consider.