Bad breath and its causes
The most common cause of bad breath in adults are the anaerobic bacteria in the mouth, especially in the back of the mouth, caused by left over food. They break down proteins and the byproduct of this process is unpleasant smell.
Other possible causes may be tooth decay, gum disease, food stuck between teeth, dry mouth, excess bacteria on the tongue from postnasal drip, catarrh, throat or tonsil infections and dry mouth.
It can also be an underlying health condition, like diabetes, kidney failure or lung infection.
What makes it worse
Certain foods, like garlic and onions, can bake bad breath even worse. Contrary to what many people believe, the smell of garlic and onions cannot be eliminated with brushing or using a mouthwash. This is because the pungent oils in these foods are absorbed during digestion into the bloodstream, from where they carried to the lungs and the smell is evident when a person exhales.
Food digestion can also worsen the bad breath. Digestion problems and constipation make it worse.
Of course, inadequate brushing and flossing greatly contributes to bad breath. When the teeth are not cleaned properly, food is left stuck on and between the teeth, causing foul odor.
People who have problems with dry mouth often have bad breath. This is because saliva washes out the remains of food, debris and bacteria and cleans the mouth. The lack of saliva obviously leads to bad breath for this reason.
Smoking also contributes to bad breath because the residues of chemicals and of the smoke itself can linger in mouth and lungs.
Myths about eliminating bad breath
When people have bad breath, they automatically think of using mouthwash. This is not an effective way to eliminate bad breath because mouthwash only temporarily masks the smell, which comes back once the effect of mouthwash is over.
Brushing the teeth may be an efficient remedy for bad breath if it is caused by food residues in mouth. If there is another cause, brushing simply will not help.
Gums and mints also have a temporary effect. In fact, they may even worsen the problem, especially if they contain sugar, because bacteria feed on it.
For an effective and complete treatment of bad breath, it is essential to first identify its cause address it. Once the cause is gone, bad breath goes away too.