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Causes of bad breath

Causes of bad breath

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This service is provided by doctors:
Dental Therapist
Top-level dentist, orthodontist

Bad breath has a medical term: halitosis. It occurs due to sulfur compounds produced by microbes in the mouth (their waste products). As a result, your breath becomes unpleasant, especially in the morning.

The formation of tartar increases the number of bacteria, and as a consequence, they release more metabolic products. You can get rid of the problem with a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist.

There can be other reasons. Doctors name five leading causes of bad breath:

  1. Diseases of the teeth, gums and mucous membranes of the mouth.
  2. Consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and certain foods.
  3. The sign of acute and chronic diseases.
  4. Hormonal disorder.
  5. Certain medications.
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What causes bad breath?

Bad breath has different causes, and consequently, there are different ways of treating it.

Dental and Oral Diseases

Bad breath can primarily be caused by dental disease (tooth decay and its complications) and gum inflammation. Food gets stuck in cavities and gets exposed to bacteria. When bacterial plaque forms on the edge of the gums, inflammation, bleeding, and swelling begin. Stomatitis, glossitis, and fungal infection involving mucosal membranes can also cause halitosis.

Sometimes crowns or dentures can lead to bad breath. In addition, improper placement or poor hygiene causes food particles to accumulate under the restoration, and decay occurs. 

Only a quick visit to the dentist would help eliminate the bad smell if oral disease or crowns caused it.

Some of the materials used in dental restorations can absorb odours. You can only get rid of the problem if you replace them.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Strong Smelling Foods Consumption

Smoking and chewing tobacco cause bad breath and contribute to the yellowing of tooth enamel and gum inflammation. 

The only solution is to quit using tobacco in any form. 

Hydrogen sulfide breath odour occurs when you eat onions, garlic, and horseradish. In addition, fish products (especially canned tuna) have an intense flavour. Therefore, you should brush your teeth thoroughly after eating such foods. 

When following a low-carb diet, ketones release as a result of breaking down fats, and a person’s breath can smell like acetone. Strict dietary restrictions can help avoid it.

Acute and Chronic Diseases

Metal-scented breath is a sign of pancreatic diseases, dysbiosis, and severe liver and kidney pathologies.

Diabetes mellitus can make breath smell like acetone. 

The smell of rotten eggs from the mouth is characteristic of gastritis with reduced acidity and other gastrointestinal problems. It is often caused by overeating or eating fatty, “heavy” foods. 

Breath smelling like pus is common with maxillary sinusitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis and other otolaryngology conditions. 

A solution to the problem: see a dentist first. If your teeth and mouth are fine, schedule an appointment with a general practitioner to get examined by specialised professionals.

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Hormonal imbalance

Changes in hormone levels can cause bad breath. For example, in women, with an increase in estrogen, the epithelium begins to peel, including in the oral cavity. Therefore, anaerobic bacteria are activated.

Such phenomena are observed in hormonal disorders, pregnancy, and gynaecological or endocrine diseases.

The symptom is eliminated after restoring the hormonal balance. Before appointing treatment, it is necessary to consult a doctor. During pregnancy, the hormonal balance may stabilise on its own after delivery and the end of breastfeeding.

Medication intake

The most common causes of halitosis are the following medications:

  1. antibiotics, hormonal drugs. They affect the balanced oral microbiota and reduce the secretory function of the salivary glands. In addition, some antibiotics getting into body tissues and saliva have a specific smell.
  2. Tranquilizers, antidepressants, antihistamines, and sleeping pills. They can cause dry mouth. Due to a lack of saliva, anaerobic bacteria are not flushed out.

Side effect disappears after discontinuation of the drug or completion of treatment. However, it is necessary to consult a doctor about the solution to the problem because halitosis can occur due to GI dysfunction against the background of taking medications. If the cause is dry mouth, it is advisable to drink more fluids. 

Remedies for bad breath

A list of medications that can help eliminate halitosis:

  1. Septogal. They help eliminate unpleasant odors and its cause: pharyngitis, gingivitis, and stomatitis. Benzalkonium chloride, peppermint, eucalyptus oil, and menthol are central components.
  2. Halita spray. Effective for smoking, after drinking alcoholic beverages, after eating onions, garlic and other products with an intense aroma. Contains components that help in the prevention of infections. Composition: chlorhexidine, zinc lactate, silicon dioxide, sorbitol, xylitol, cetylpyridinium chloride.
  3. Galitox drops. A natural herbal remedy, it can be combined with mint, chamomile, and calendula infusions. It includes propolis, eucalyptus, black walnut, chitosan, and Ophiocordyceps Sinensis.
  4. Philips Sonicare BreathRx Rinse. It kills anaerobic bacteria in the mouth and freshens breath. It has a long-lasting effect. Components of the composition: cetylpyridinium chloride, eucalyptus oil, thymol, zinc chloride.
  5. Listerine Total Care Rinse. It destroys bacteria without affecting the oral microflora and provides complete protection. Composition: menthol, eucalyptus, zinc chloride, sodium benzoate, thymol, benzoic acid.
  6. Dentaid Halita Toothpaste. Specially formulated to eliminate the causes of halitosis. In addition, it strengthens gums and prevents tooth decay. Active ingredients: zinc lactate, sodium fluoride, cetylpyridine chloride, xylitol.
  7. GUM HALICONTROL Tooth Gel. It blocks the growth of anaerobic microorganisms. Provides remineralisation of enamel. Ingredients: cetylpyridinium chloride, cyclodextrin, lactic acid zinc, peppermint essential oil, sodium fluoride.
  8. Dental gel Metrogil Denta. It is used for the treatment of periodontal diseases causing bad breath. Take as prescribed by the doctor. The main ingredients are chlorhexidine and metronidazole.
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How to Get Rid of Bad Breath?

You can detect signs of bad breath on your own. To do this, you need to take a cotton pad and wipe the mucous membrane of the cheeks, and the root of the tongue, with it. Then, if an unpleasant odour remains, you need to take action. 

Another way: smell a wooden toothpick or dental floss after use. It is important to avoid brushing your teeth with toothpaste before the procedure. 

Halitosis prevention measures:

  1. Brush your teeth twice daily: in the morning and before bed. Using toothpaste or gel containing fluoride is advisable without a bleaching effect. Bristles should be selected according to your dentist’s recommendation but should be soft.
  2. Use dental scrapers, tongue cleaners, floss, or a toothbrush to clean between your teeth. If possible, use an irrigator.
  3. Visit the dentist’s office every six months for checkups and professional cleanings.
  4. Avoid alcohol, spices, cured meat, garlic and onions, and food that is difficult for the stomach to digest. Do not follow rigid diets with infrequent meals.
  5. Do not smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products in any form.
  6. Drink plenty of still water. It compensates for the lack of saliva when the mouth dries out, washing away bacteria and dead epithelial cells where they multiply.
  7. If you have a chronic medical condition, visit your doctor regularly and undergo therapy.
How to get rid of bad breath

If you have halitosis, contact the Clinic of Aesthetic Dentistry. Their specialists will help you identify the cause of your bad breath, provide comprehensive treatment, and give you a professional oral hygiene treatment.