The Surprising Cause of Your Bad Breath

woman covering her mouth because her breath stinks

Your tongue has something to do with it. Several experts have weighed in on the top five causes of halitosis-and how to combat them.

Everyone has stinky breath at some point, whether it’s because they just ate garlicky pasta or it’s been awhile since they brushed their teeth.

Halitosis, or bad breath, affects one-third of the population. In most cases, bacteria living in your mouth break down food, proteins, and even skin cells, releasing stinky volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs).

Here are the top causes of bad breath-and how to eliminate bacteria and other halitosis culprits.

Bacteria that live on your tongue

There are many grooves and crevices on the back of the tongue, which is the perfect place for odor-producing bacteria to thrive and produce VSCs.

Most bacteria that cause bad breath accumulate at the back of the tongue. A tongue scraper cannot reach that far without making you gag, and neither can your toothbrush. In order to effectively attack this area, it is recommended to use a substance that is safe to swallow and that fights bad-breath bacteria and neutralizes VSCs.

Plaque on your teeth

VSCs are formed when plaque, a bacterial film, forms on the teeth and gums.

It’s important to see your dentist regularly, but professional cleanings only work for a short time. Once you eat or drink, the bacteria repopulate.

Therefore, a good at-home oral care routine is necessary. Some toothpaste ingredients may be antibacterial, but brushing is the best way to get rid of bacteria.

By flossing after you brush, you can remove particles between your teeth. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth right away to remove any odorous particles. Garlic stays in your system for up to two days, so you shouldn’t be surprised if your garlicky bad breath returns.

Allium vegetables, like garlic and onions, contain high concentrations of stinky sulfur compounds. You create allicin when you crush them, and that’s what gives garlic its strong odor.

If you notice odiferous particles stuck to your teeth, brush and floss right away. You shouldn’t be surprised if your garlicky bad breath returns after two days, since garlic stays in your system for two days.

Dry Mouth

Bacteria are washed away by saliva, making it a natural deterrent to bad breath. However, many people suffer from dry mouth, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Prescription medications are the major cause. Many medications can cause your mouth to become parched. It can get worse if you take more than one of these medications.

Sipping on water regularly can cure dry mouth just as well as special dry mouth lozenges. In addition, sucking on sugar-free candy between meals may be helpful. The salivary glands are stimulated when you chew anything.

Certain medical conditions

Bad breath can sometimes be caused by gum disease. You can also get it from allergies, lactose intolerance, or diabetes. In people with diabetes who aren’t well-controlled, for example, ketones (chemicals produced when fat is burned instead of glucose for energy) can make your breath odor fruity or like nail polish.

What to do: If you don’t seem to be responding to any of the above remedies, then you should consult your dentist and possibly your internist so you can identify the underlying health condition causing it, and get the proper treatment.

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