Bad breath is a problem that everyone worries about. It can be embarrassing at times. No one wants to be the person in the office that people avoid because your breath smells bad.
Bad breath is not only a potentially embarrassing dilemma. It can also be a sign of other health problems if it is chronic and consistent. Halitosis is the medical term for chronic bad breath.
Many causes of halitosis are associated with specific smells. A few examples include:
- A fishy odor (assuming you haven’t eaten any fish) or the smell of ammonia. This is often related to kidney disease and increased urea levels.
- A fruity smell, specifically if you are diabetic. This indicates an imbalance in blood sugar.
- If your breath has an acidic odor, it may be a symptom of asthma of cystic fibrosis.
- Cheesy breath is usually indicative of a nasal infection.
Of course, if your breath smells like pickles or onions, it might be the pickles or onions you ate earlier. If you feel that you suffer frequently from bad breath, discuss it with your dentist. They can often identify the potential problem by scent alone. Knowing the cause is the first step to addressing the problem and eventually getting rid of your bad breath for good.
1. Sinus Breath
A very common source of problems that may cause halitosis are your sinuses. Sometimes it can just be due to a buildup of microbes in your sinuses.
As the air you exhale moves past the bacteria and buildup, their odor is carried with it. The same is true for cases of post-nasal drip and nasal polyps.
Sinusitis, or inflammation of the sinus cavity, almost always causes bad breath. This is a very common condition. Luckily, it is easily treatable. Unluckily, sinusitis due to allergies can be more long-term and harder to deal with.
Basically, if you suffer from sinus problems and bad breath, the two symptoms are potentially connected.
2. Smoking and Tobacco
This one may be a little obvious. You have probably heard people say that kissing someone who smokes cigarettes is a lot like kissing an ashtray. Well, even being close to people who smoke is no walk in the park. It’s more like a walk through a dive bar.
Tobacco breath is strong and distinct. Long-term smoking can frequently cause halitosis. This means that your breath could be bad even if you haven’t had a cigarette all day.
Bad breath is just one of the minor health concerns associated with cigarette and tobacco use. Plaque buildup, yellow and decaying teeth, mouth cancer, lung cancer, and many other conditions are the result of smoking regularly.
3. Gum Disease
This is another common cause of halitosis. If your bad breath leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth, you may have an untreated disease in your gums.
Gum disease is usually not very painful on its own. As such, you may not even realize you have it if you aren’t paying attention. Because this is so hard to detect, seeing a dentist is crucial. A dentist will be able to thoroughly examine your gums and teeth for any issues. They will also be able to help you treat gum disease and in turn, treat your halitosis.
4. Plaque Buildup
Not everyone brushes their teeth as frequently as they should. If you are one of those people, chances are a lot of plaque has built up on your teeth and around your gums.
This can lead to worse problems, like cavities or gingivitis. It also naturally makes your breath smell. The first step to solving this is to make brushing your teeth a more regular habit. At least twice a day will prevent the further buildup of plaque.
If your problem doesn’t seem to be going away easily, you may need to get your teeth cleaned professionally by a dentist. This is basically like a fresh start for your teeth. After that, it’s on you to keep the plaque from building up again.
5. Dietary Causes of Bad Breath
In some cases, your halitosis may be due to your diet or what foods you eat regularly. Low-carb diets like the keto diet can give your breath a fruity or acetone-like odor.
This happens because low-carb diets stimulate the burning of fat. This process gives off the odor-causing chemical, ketone.
It can also be caused by not eating enough! One thing about fasting frequently or skipping meals means that your mouth produces less saliva. Less saliva means that more bacteria remains in your mouth. This leads to an unpleasant, sulfuric odor.
6. “Diabetes Breath”
People who are diabetic actually have to deal with two issues that may cause bad breath. The first is due to not enough insulin being produced by the body. This triggers the burning of fat, just like low-carb diets, diabetes can have a similar effect on your breath.
The second cause is more serious. If the smell is fishy or something like ammonia, it could be a sign of chronic kidney failure. Be sure and check with a doctor if you are diabetic and experiencing halitosis. This is especially if you are confident that you are maintaining your insulin levels. There may be an underlying issue.
This particular condition is very rare. It is actually a genetic disorder. Sometimes it’s known as fish-odor syndrome, which isn’t a great name. TMAU, or trimethylaminuria, causes a body odor as well as bad breath.
TMAU affects the body’s ability to process choline, which is found in eggs, broccoli, beans, and legumes. When choline isn’t properly broken down, it causes a buildup of trimethylamine.
This is subsequently excreted through saliva, sweat, urine, and the air you exhale. The only real treatment is to cut from your diet anything that contains choline. Diagnosing this disorder is important because having or not having TMAU is almost entirely outside of your control.
Get Rid of Your Bad Breath Today!
Here at Valley Ridge Dental, we can help you get rid of the bad breath that has been plaguing you. From routine exams and cleanings to dental hygiene programs, we’ve got you covered. You’ll soon have minty fresh breath and a smile on your face in no time!