Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors including dry mouth, infection, allergies to medication and periodontal disease. If you brush and floss regularly and still have bad breath you should see a dentist to help determine the cause.

We know certain foods make our breath smell, but what are some reasons why our breath smells the next day after we’ve already digested the food?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, we have bad breath the next day for a couple of reasons. Reason number one would be dry mouth. Reason number two would be periodontal disease. Reason number three is some food groups that we ingest like garlic and onions and alcohol for instance, they get absorbed into your bloodstream and the net result of this is your blood travels through your lungs and ultimately you breathe out some of these odors from the food groups that we eat.

What type of infections or diseases cause bad breath?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, there are a number different diseases that cause bad breath. The most common: people with allergies often have bad breath because they get postnasal drip or mucus that actually causes bad breath. Another cause of bad breath would be periodontal disease, where your gums and your bone are infected. And this infection lays in your mouth and stomach ailments. A lot of stomach problems ultimately result in bad breath. Allergies to medications or different medications that people are on cause bad breath. Any number of different things or variables.

How do dentures and oral appliances actually cause bad breath?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, dentures and oral appliances by themselves do not cause bad breath. It’s what people do to them or don’t do to them that causes the bad breath. Appliances, like dentures and partials, when these appliances are in people’s mouth, they must be fastidious about keeping them clean at all times. Taking them out periodically and thoroughly cleaning them. Making sure that they have a prosthetic device in their mouth that does not trap food for any prolonged period of time, and does not cause the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not do this. They keep these appliances in their mouth for a prolonged period of time and bacteria festers in them and ultimately you end up with bad breath.

Is morning breath a real term and what causes it?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, it really is. It’s caused primarily by two things. One would be dry mouth. People who smoke for instance, ultimately end up with dry mouth in the morning when they wake up. And what happens is the saliva that you generate in your mouth, that’s the transportation device for bacteria. So, if your mouth is dry, your bacteria festers in your mouth. It’s not moved and so you get bad breath. And the other again, is and I can’t emphasize this enough, periodontal disease. What happens there is you get an accumulation of bacteria in your gum tissue and around your bone and around your teeth and your mouth. And that also causes bad breath.

When do you know it’s time to call the doctor or dentist about your bad breath?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, under normal circumstances, if a person brushes and flosses and rinses a number of times during the course of the day, that should alleviate your bad breath. If you do these things fastidiously, and you still have bad breath, obviously you’ve got another problem. And so, at that point in time, one should call a physician or a dentist and get examined and find out what the root cause of the bad breath is.

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