The American Dental Association estimates that up to 50% of adults have halitosis or bad breath, at some point in their lives. While many causes of halitosis are harmless, often times bad breath can be a sign of underlying health concerns. Here’s what your breath may be trying to tell you!
You have dry mouth- Dry mouth can be caused by medications, salivary gland problems, mouth breathing, or even dehydration, so if you suffer from dry mouth, talk to your dentist for customized recommendations. Combat your dry mouth by drinking plenty of water and skipping diuretics, like coffee, which can make dry mouth worse.
Bacteria is to blame- There are hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally live in your mouth. After you eat, bacteria consumes food particles left in your mouth, producing bad breath. Brush twice a day and floss daily to eliminate oral bacteria and fight halitosis.
It’s something you ate- Often, your breath can be traced back to your last meal. Common food offenders, like garlic, tuna fish, and onions, can lead to halitosis—though regular oral care should eliminate these smells.
It could be gum disease- Persistent bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth can indicate you may be suffering from advanced gum disease, which is caused by a buildup of plaque. Call your dentist to schedule an appointment.
You may have an underlying medical condition- If your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another issue like a sinus condition, gastric reflux, or diabetes. If you suspect your bad breath is a warning sign of something more serious, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to fight bad breath and boost your health. Between staying hydrated, using mouthwash, and eating healthy foods that encourage saliva production (like carrots and apples), you can keep bad breath away for good! Most importantly, schedule regular checkups to allow your dentist to detect any problems so you can keep your dental health in mint condition.