Bad breath is a social disease. It repels others. It affects intimacy with our partner. It can even stand in the way of a well-deserved promotion.
In the same way a bitter taste can protect us from eating something harmful or poisonous, we instinctively avoid things that smell bad.
Thankfully, bad breath is correctable. Here are some of the most common causes of bad breath.
1. Poor oral hygiene. One of the top reasons why your breath may be a bit wonky is because of undigested food particles in and around your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing can reduce the amount of odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.
2. Dehydration. Not drinking enough water can impair your body’s ability to produce saliva. Not only is saliva crucial for food digestion, plaque and tarter can more easily form when your mouth is parched.
3. Ketogenic diet. A low carbohydrate diet produces a state called ketosis. When your body burns stored fat for fuel you may experience “keto breath.” This is different from more common types of bad breath. Many describe it as a metallic taste, a fruity smell or something similar to nail polish remover.
4. Medications. Certain types of medications are known to contribute to bad breath. The side effects of some prescription drugs can produce a dry mouth. This permits starches and carbohydrates to cling to dental surfaces, providing a feast for hungry bacteria.
5. Digestive issues. Acid reflux, or more accurately, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is when stomach fluids flow up the esophagus into your mouth. This is highly acidic and contributes to a dry mouth and bad breath.
6. Drinking coffee. Coffee is both dehydrating and acidic. This is a “double whammy” when it comes to bad breath. Not to mention the effects of cream and sweeteners that many add to their coffee.
7. You’re a smoker. Smoking tends to dry out the mouth and give bacteria an environment in which to thrive.
8. Alcohol consumption. Drinking too much alcohol or washing your mouth with an alcohol-based mouth rinse can dehydrate your mouth. Limit yourself to one or two drinks and drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
9. Sticky sweets. Caramels and desserts that are especially sticky tend to settle into the grooves of the biting surfaces of your teeth. This feeds the bacteria responsible for many types of bad breath issues.
10. You snore. Snoring is a major contributor to bad breath. Breathing through your mouth rather than your nose can dry out your mouth. By now you know that a dry mouth equals bad breath.
Covering up breath issues with mints may temporarily solve the problem, while the underlying cause continues to fester. If you suspect that your breath is off-putting to others, schedule a checkup. In just minutes we can assess your oral hygiene and determine not only the cause of your bad breath, but provide a care plan to eliminate it.
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