Have noticed that people tend to keep their distance when talking with you? Does your tongue has a yellowish color? Not like anyone is judging you, but you might have bad breath. Before you panic and swallow an entire pack of fresh mints, you should learn that bad breath is a common occurrence.
Halitosis – the medical term for bad breath – affects one in four people on a regular basis. It’s triggered by the billions of bacteria eating away the leftover protein in our mouths and secreting bad-smelling sulfur compounds.
Around 80% of the cases of bad breath are caused by oral factors like trapped food particles between your teeth, gingivitis, dental caries, cracked fillings, and the like. The rest are due to factors that are not related to your mouth and that you can take care of without necessarily going to the dentist before your (at least) bi-annual check-up.
Read on to find which are some unexpected reasons for your bad breath:
- Skipping Meals
Saliva is the body’s natural defense against bacteria in your mouth. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for these nasty microorganisms to develop. Chewing increases saliva flow up to 10% the normal rate.
So, if it’s been awhile since your last meal, your mouth hasn’t had the chance to produce enough saliva to wash bacteria away. Couple this with food particles trapped between your teeth since your last snack and you’ve got the perfect recipe for funky breath. To keep it at bay, you should eat, drink plenty of water or chew sugarless gum.
- Following a Low-Carb Diet
Dental clinics Winnipeg can confirm that it’s not unusual for people these days to follow a low-carb diet for various reasons. However, cutting down carbs automatically leads to you ingesting a higher amount of protein and your body starting to burn fat for energy. That produces ammonia and ketones which are expelled through your breath. A good oral hygiene routine won’t help in this case since the root problem is elsewhere. If you’re not willing to change your diet, you can try masking the scent with sugar-free gum.
- Colds and Medicine
A stuffy nose forces you to breathe through your mouth causing it to dry since the saliva flow is lessened (the same happens when you sleep with your mouth open or have sleep apnea). Other nasal problems such as allergies and sinus issues, can lead to nasal drip harboring bacterial growth, which may run from the back of your throat manifesting in bad breath as well.
When you’re in any of these situations, make sure you drink plenty of water and chew sugarless gum. Make sure also to check the medications you take. Over 400 prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, such as antidepressants, allergy remedies, muscle relaxants, vitamins, pain meds, decongestants are known to make your breath smell bad.
- Tonsil Stones
Tonsils are there to stop bacteria and virus particles trying to pass through your throat. Sometimes these microorganisms can become trapped in the ridges of your tonsils and at the back of your tongue, calcifying or hardening and smelling. That is how tonsil stones are formed. Usually, they dislodge on their own, but you can speed the process by gargling with salt water.
- Wrong Choice of Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Some toothpaste products contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is a detergent added to make them bubbly but has no cleaning benefits. Instead, it can cause canker sores (mouth ulcer) and oral odor.
Other toothpaste products contain alcohol, baking soda or silica (the main component of sand) that suck moisture and leave your mouth dry. Alcohol can be found in some mouthwashes’ ingredients as well, and with the same effect.
Make sure to avoid these ingredients when you buy your products.
- Tongue Scraping
You already know all about brushing, flossing and rinsing – and hopefully, you’re doing them twice daily – but do you take special care of your tongue too?
Your tongue, with its peaks and valleys, can be the ideal hiding spot for bacteria. A healthy tongue is pink, glistening and smooth. If it has a white or yellow coating on, it means that the bad smelling sulfur compounds are stuck there. Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and make sure to insist at the back. You can reduce your bad breath problem by up to 70% by cleaning your tongue.
If your regular oral hygiene routine doesn’t help with your halitosis, you should consider trying some of these suggestions. Further look into your overall lifestyle habits to see other possible causes.