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What Causes Bad Breath?

June 1, 2021
by: Dr. Ammons

Bad breath is also sometimes referred to by its medical name, which is halitosis. It can be a condition which causes significant embarrassment to an individual, especially if it gets pointed out in a social setting. If you've ever doubted how uncomfortable it can make someone feel, or how it can trigger anxiety in someone, just take a look at the hundreds of products available in grocery stores and pharmacies which are supposedly cures for bad breath.

The truth is though, that most of these products don't really address the underlying cause of bad breath, and merely mask the symptoms for a short while. If you really want to control bad breath, you'll need an understanding of what causes it in the first place, so you can deal with that instead of just putting a sweet-smelling lozenge in your mouth.

What actually causes bad breath?

There are quite a few things that cause bad breath in your mouth, some of them natural and some of them artificially induced. The first and most obvious cause is some of the foods you eat. Onions, garlic, and some spices can all cause bad breath, and even after being swallowed, can then travel to your lungs and affect your breath. Tobacco products cause bad breath themselves, and they also contribute to gum disease which is another trigger for bad breath. If you have poor dental hygiene, you're much likelier to have bad breath, because particles will become trapped between your teeth, then break down and release bacteria which has a foul odor.

Anyone regularly bothered by dry mouth will often have bad breath as well, because the saliva in your mouth is what does oral cleaning, and helps to keep your breath fresher. A number of medications will cause your breath to smell badly, and when these medications break down, they can still affect your breath. You can also get bad breath from having an infection in your mouth, from tooth decay, or following some type of surgery such as a root canal.

Bad breath from the stomach

It's possible for a person to have bad breath as a result of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is an affliction that comes about when you experience chronic reflux of stomach acids. These stomach acids can travel back up into the throat, where they emerge to trouble the victim with whatever stomach odors resulted from recent digestive efforts. This can not only give you bad breath, but it can be quite uncomfortable because these acids are moving through your system and your throat.

Fix your bad breath

Fixing your bad breath will be a matter of discovering what the primary cause of the condition is, and then addressing that effectively. For example, if you determine that your bad breath is being caused by some of the foods you eat, you would just have to choose some alternative foods which don't affect you in the same way.

One thing you can do for sure is to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth regularly after eating, and using dental floss to remove particles which may become trapped between your teeth. If these particles are allowed to disintegrate and decay on their own in your mouth, they will give off a foul odor as bacteria is generated. You can also drink plenty of water to make sure you're regularly flushing out any of this material, so it doesn't just sit in your mouth and decay.

If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking as soon as possible, because this can be contributing to gum disease, which is notorious for causing bad breath. If you have made all these lifestyle changes and still have persistent bad breath, you should consult with your dentist. It's entirely possible that there is some more serious condition which is triggering your bad breath, and your doctor may refer you to a specialist to find out the true cause of your condition.

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Multiple Convenient Dental Locations Near Charleston

Ammons Dental By Design has four locations so you can find the most convenient office for your family.
1015 Fair St.
Camden, SC 29020
Monday – Thursday:
8am – 5pm
P: (803) 969-0365
F: (803) 432-2625
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14 Lockwood Dr,
Charleston, SC 29401
(Suite A on the exterior of the Ashley House Building, across from the marina)
Monday – Thursday:
7am - 4pm
P: (843) 380-2734
F: (843) 577-4464
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1739-B Maybank Hwy.
Charleston, SC 29412
Tuesday – Friday:
7am - 4pm
P: (843) 380-8889
F: (843) 990-9504
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1710 Old Trolley., Ste.B
Summerville, SC 29485
Tuesday – Thursday: 8am – 5pm
Monday & Friday*: 8am – 5pm
*Rotating schedule
P: (843) 380-8904
F: (843) 871-0617
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