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The most common causes of bad breath

Bad breath is defined as an unpleasant sensory perception experienced by others, capable of adversely affecting the social life of the person breathing out the bad breath.

Common causes of bad breath
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Nobody is actually inconvenienced by their own body odour or bad breath, but the same cannot be said for others! Find out about the most common causes of bad breath to remedy this problem, which can affect your social life, as well as sometimes being a symptom of an underlying health problem.

Bad breath: digestive causes

In its normal state, the stomach is impermeable and unsavoury smelling releases can only occur through burps. Some foods however, in the process of being digested can temporarily alter breath. Garlic, onion, fatty sauces and alcohol are often responsible for occasional bad breath but their effect doesn’t last, and they are not the cause of ongoing bad breath.

Gastric acidity can alter breath in people who don’t normally have digestive problems. Tobacco and alcohol consumption are commonly incriminated regarding gastric acid, but sometimes no causes at all are identified. People with gastric acidity exhale a heavy, sometimes fetid breath. Anti-acid and reflux medications are helpful, but can only be obtained with a medical prescription.

Bad breath: oral and dental causes

Dental issues are the most common cause of persistent bad breath. Untreated tooth decay is often accompanied by gingivitis, which can evolve into abscesses and result in strong oral odours.  

Gaps between teeth can trap food bits, which stay there and rot away. Mouths which are in a really bad condition therefore exhale a very typical foul smell. Any oral inflammation or infection can induce bad breath.

Bad breath: nasal and sinus causes

These are more frequent than is generally assumed. Chronic rhinitis and sinusitis and atrophic rhinitis, also called ozena, can have long-term repercussions on breath.

So, what can I do about bad breath?

  • Tackle local causes, especially oral, dental but also nasal and throat problems;
  • Cut down on your tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as any food that you’ve noticed provokes bad breath;
  • Reduce gastric acidity;
  • Go for a general check-up should bad breath persists for unidentified reasons.

Posted 31.01.2012

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