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Bad breath? Here are the 8 most common causes

What can be in the background?

Having a bad breath might be annoying both for ourselves and our environment, and in many cases, the cause for the problem is a serious illness. Thus, it is recommended that we investigate the issue thoroughly.
Here are the 8 most common causes for bad breath

1. Oral hygiene

Oral hygieneThe most common cause is inadequate oral hygiene.
There are several bacteria on our tongue that facilitate digestion; still, the extensive amount of these bacteria may cause bad breath. These bacteria are responsible for starting digestion. They transform amino acids containing proteins into sulphur compounds, which may result in bad breath.
That is why dentists recommend that we brush our teeth thoroughly not only as part of our morning and evening routine but following all main meals; we should also brush our tongue with toothpaste.
According to a study, if we brush the back of our tongue as well, we may reduce bad breath by 70%.
We should use floss once a day so that we can remove plaque and food residue from places that we cannot reach with the toothbrush.

2. The dehydration of the oral mucosa

Another cause for bad breath might be the dehydration of the oral mucosa, which is a result of insufficient fluid intake, smoking, alcohol consumption, the use of mouthwash containing alcohol or taking a breath through our open mouth during sleeping. In addition, certain medicine such as antihypertensive drugs, anti-depressants or antihistaminics may also trigger the dehydration of the mucosa. If the bacteria in our mouth is not covered with a sufficient amount of saliva, they can alter the pH value.

3. Tonsillitis and sinusitis

If we follow all the guidelines of adequate oral hygiene, but the problem still exists, we should consult an ENT physicist to have our tonsils and sinus examined, as the root cause might be inflammation.

4. Diabetes

Another typical problem is acetone breath, which indicates diabetes. Other gastrointestinal diseases such as reflux – the incorrect functioning of the muscles in the oesophagus (diaphragmatic hernia) – can also cause bad breath. In such cases, the sphincter of the oesophagus opens when it is not supposed to, allowing the acid content of our stomach to enter the oesophagus.
A low-carb diet may result in ketosis, which might also be a cause for bad breath; if we are on such diet, we have to increase our fibre intake.

5. Pneumonia, bronchitis

The inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia, bronchitis) can also trigger bad breath. We should consult a doctor if we have pneumonia, as the root cause might be a serious illness. It is also recommended to undergo a thorough medical examination in order to rule out potential renal or hepatic diseases.

6. Food

Health foodFood such as onion, garlic and fish can be a reason for bad breath even hours after consumption – and even after the thorough brushing of our teeth.
Oils, edible oils and their emission often cause heartburn (pyrosis), especially when they are re-used. Besides oils, spicy and hot food, fizzy drinks, artificial additives and preservatives can also irritate our stomach.
Beer is a typical cause for heartburn; among all the alcoholic beverages, beer is the worst for the stomach. Coffee can also cause such symptoms, so it is not recommended to drink it on an empty stomach. Heartburn causes bad breath.

7. Upset stomach

Upset stomach often causes bad breath, especially if gases are released as burping. The most common form of upset stomach is heartburn.
In most cases, heartburns occur when the acid content of the stomach flows back into the oesophagus, and irritate its mucosa.
This is generally referred to as heartburn, which is a typical symptom of reflux diseases. In such cases, the irritation itself is caused by the fact that the mucosa of the oesophagus is not protected against gastric acid, contrary to the mucosa of the stomach.
Heartburn may also be a symptom of gastric ulcer. The bacterial infection of our stomach might cause such symptoms as well; for instance, heartburns can be a symptom of the Helicobacter infection. Similar symptoms may occur in case of the viral infection of our stomach, and heartburns might also be caused by upper respiratory tract infection.
Low-carb diets – which are potential causes for ketosis – and an empty stomach can also trigger bad breath.

8. Bad habits

Bad habitsAny form of smoking (cigarettes, cigars, pipes) or chewing tobacco causes very bad breath.
The nicotine in cigarettes lessens the smooth muscle tone, which results in a deterioration of the sphincters of the stomach, allowing the gastric acid to enter the oesophagus through the cardia. Thus, smokers prone to reflux diseases often suffer from heartburn.
If the root cause is not a serious illness, oral hygiene, continuous fluid intake and a balanced diet can all help us eliminate bad breath.
We should avoid the consumption of alcohol, the use of mouth wash containing alcohol and we should also quit smoking.
Eating natural yoghurt and parsley will compensate for the amount of bacteria in our mouth: parsley has an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect, while natural yoghurts contain microflora that keep the potentially proliferated digestive bacteria balanced.

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