Bad breath is breath that has an unpleasant odour also known as halitosis. This odour can be a socially embarrassing disorder that can affect all people, at all ages at any time in life.Ã‚Â There are several factors that can cause bad breath.
In most cases, bad breath is caused by the presence of oral bacteria.Ã‚Â Millions of bacteria live in the mouth, particularly on the back of the tongue. In many people, these are the primary causes of bad breath. The mouthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s warm, moist conditions are ideal for the growth of these bacteria.
Some types of bad breath are considered to be fairly normal. One example is Ã¢â‚¬Å“morning breath.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â This occurs because of changes in your mouth while you sleep. During the day, saliva washes away decaying food and odours. The body makes less saliva at night. Your mouth becomes dry, and dead cells stick to your tongue and to the inside of your cheeks. When bacteria use these cells for food, they produce a foul odour.
Bad breath can also be caused by poor dental hygiene. Not cleaning those areas where oral bacteria reside and not flossing your teeth, which allows bits of food to decay inside the mouth.
Infections in the mouth like gum disease may also be the culprit. These include: red or swollen gums that may bleed easily, especially after brushing or flossing, pus between the teeth or a pocket of pus at the base of a tooth and painful, open sores on the tongue or gums.
Respiratory tract infections of the throat, sinus or lung infections.Ã‚Â Sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, fever, stuffy nose, a greenish or yellowish discharge.
External agents that can contribute to bad breath are garlic, onions, coffee, cigarette smoking or chewing of tobacco.
Dry mouth caused by salivary gland problems, medicines or Ã¢â‚¬Å“mouth breathingÃ¢â‚¬Â which contribute to difficulty in swallowing dry foods, difficulty speaking for a long time because of mouth dryness and burning in the mouth.
In rare cases, bad breath can be a sign of a significant general health problem, caused by illnesses like diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, reflux disease and others.
Find out why and how you can prevent and effectively treat bad breath in our next article.