Garlic. Hot peppers. Tuna. Onions.
Everyone knows the foods that can directly cause bad breath. But what about those unexpected sources and conditions that can spur that sour, foul aroma from your mouth? Dr. Dental’s team of dentists and healthcare professionals have seen (and smelled) our share of bad breath throughout the years. You didn’t think our dental masks were just for germs, did you? Some of our patients ask for advice about bad breath. And if you suffer from bad breath from time to time, there’s certainly no shame in the matter. According to one scientific study, up to half of the population in the United States – and well more than half in some European countries – suffer from halitosis, the medical term for bad breath.
Let’s look at some surprising causes of bad breath, and what you can do to remedy the situation.
Bad Breath: An Early Advance Warning System for Other Oral Health Problem
If you have persistent bad breath, that’s bad news. And not just for the people in your immediate vicinity. Bad breath can be the precursor to a host of illnesses and diseases. Halitosis is associated with everything from gum disease to yeast infections. Researchers think that bad breath is an early warning system of sorts – the body’s way of alerting you of deeper health problems.
So if your bad breath won’t go away despite a disciplined oral health care regimen, it’s recommended that you get a thorough physical exam. It never hurts to be safe!
Surprising Bad Breath Causes
So what are some non-obvious causes of bad breath? The following handful of factors might surprise you.
- Excessive coffee. Everyone loves a cup of joe in the morning, right? Well, your mouth might not, if you suffer from bad breath. Coffee is the classic example of a “domino effect” for bad breath. The compounds in coffee can cause dry mouth, which in turn can promote bad breath, due to the lack of bacteria-battling saliva. An obvious solution is to limit your morning coffee; try decaf coffee or tea as alternatives.
- Dietary factors. What you put in your mouth can certainly impact the odor that comes out of your mouth. To cite one example, low-carb and paleo diets cause the body to produce ketones (a type of body fuel produced in the liver from fatty acids), which are eliminated through the breath. This is called “caveman breath” in some quarters. If your breath becomes a problem with your diet, tweak your eating habits or meal times – it just might work!
- A dirty tongue. No, we’re not talking about foul language. The tongue is a bacteria trap of sorts, and just like everything else in your mouth, regular cleanings are highly recommended. If you can’t quite pinpoint the source of your bad breath, try brushing your tongue on a regular basis, or at least rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash once per day.
These are only a few causes of bad breath. If you’re having trouble finding the source, you can always visit your nearest Dr. Dental. If it’s related to oral hygiene, our dentists can help with regular cleanings and create a strategy for effective dental health.
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