Does What You Eat Affect Your Breath?
Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can be caused by poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. The cause of bad breath is not just one culprit, but could be many. Read on and learn about what causes bad breath or halitosis.
Basically, all the food you eat begins to be broken down in your mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into your bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing -- even mouthwash -- merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.
If you don't brush and floss your teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, which promotes bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. In addition, odor-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.
Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate the gums.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth may be warning signs of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The bacteria cause toxins to form in the mouth, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.
Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries.
The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) can also cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and washing away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by the side effects of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.
Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.
What Can I Do to Prevent Bad Breath?about bad breath
Bad breath can be reduced or prevented if you:
1. Practice good
oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food
debris and plaque. Brush your teeth after you eat (keep a toothbrush at
work or school to brush after lunch). Don't forget to brush your tongue,
too. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. Use floss or an interdental
cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth once a
day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before
being placed in your mouth the next morning.
Halitosis can't always be brushed or flossed awaybut having breakfast might help defeat it
Has a friend or significant other gently hinted that your breath is, um, pungent? (Many halitosis sufferers can't tell.) Brushing and flossing more diligently may do the trick, and U.S. News's Sarah Baldauf offered other suggestions earlier this year. But a few more minutes at the sink won't always help, say experts. Here are eight causes of bad breath that may surprise you:
Medications. Saliva rinses away bacteria that foul the breath, and many drugs, among them antidepressants, diuretics, and even aspirin, can dry the mouth.
Bacteria. The stink-creating kind mostly hang out on the tongue, happily churning out gases as they munch on food particles and substances broken down from saliva, and multiply at night, when the salivary glands slow down (hence morning breath). Some people harbor more species of malodorous bacteria than others do, which may be why certain individuals are especially halitosis-prone. This month, a study in the Journal of Medical Microbiology suggests that H. pylori, the same bug that is often responsible for stomach ulcers, can cause bad breath and gum disease if it finds a home in the mouth.
Respiratory tract infections. Tooth and gum infections are recognized sources of bad breath. But so are bronchitis, sinusitis, and even a cold. RTIs break down tissue, starting a flow of cells and mucus that feed bacteria that create foul odors.
Skipping breakfast. Besides the well-established advantages to body and mind of having a good breakfast, it helps quell morning breath by stimulating saliva production and scrubbing bacteria from the tongue. (But lay off the sardine-onion sandwich.)
Diet. Foods high in protein or dairy products generate large amounts of amino acids, which are fodder for bacteria. A diet low in carbs burns stored fat, creating toxic-smelling ketones. And last year, researchers linked bad breath with obesity, although the basis is unclear.
Mouth breathing. Any condition that dries the tissues of the mouth, preventing saliva from washing away bacteria, encourages bad breath. Candidates include sleep apnea, snoring, and asthma.
Ongoing illnesses. A potent breath can signal particular diseases. Kidney failure produces a fishy smell and uncontrolled diabetes generates fruity fumes, for instance.breath bad
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