No one wants it.
Halitosis or bad breath is embarrassing, depressing, produces social anxiety and unpleasant to be around.
Having bad breath is so socially taboo that it is very easy to obtain mouthwash, gum, mints and a variety of other mouth freshening products to at least temporarily ward off the stink of halitosis.
But should we just be covering the odor?
16 Reasons Your Bad Breath Stinks
Maybe we shouldn’t temporarily cover up bad breath. The following 16 reasons are the most common causes of bad breath.
- Food and Diet: Not only do foods like onions, cabbage, cheese, garlic and fish contribute to bad stinky breath, but spices like curry and beverages like coffee all contribute to the unpleasant odor in your mouth. Also foods high in protein and dairy products produce large amounts of amino acid which contribute to stinky bacteria growth.
- Skipping Breakfast: Since saliva production is dramatically reduced while we sleep, breakfast helps the body to know it is time to start making saliva again instead of having a very dry mouth and bacteria growth which adds to bad breath.
- Poor Dental Hygiene: Food particles rotting between the teeth and plaque on all the surfaces of the teeth all contribute to the stinky breath smell.
- Obesity: In the October 2007 issue of the Journal of Dental Research, Professor Mel Rosenberg from the Department of Human Microbiology and The Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University published a study that linked obesity to bad breath. Then in 2013, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism stated that obesity is associated with bad breath because microbes in the gut of obese people give off small amounts of methane gas.
- Medications: Some medications give you dry mouth because they stop the production of saliva which rinses away the stinky breath producing bacteria.
- Serious Medical Problems: Breath that stinks can also be a sign of underlying medical problems such as lactose intolerance, diabetes, acid reflux, cancer, liver disease or kidney disease. Even chronic stress can cause bad breath.
- Mouth Infections or Diseases: Bad breath can be caused by lesions, impacted teeth, gingivitis, periodontal disease and cavities. The blood, food debris or pus caused from these medical conditions cause the odor in your breath.
- Vitamin Supplements: Supplements such as fish oil and garlic tablets may be great for your health, but in large doses, vitamins and supplements can give you bad breath.
- Respiratory Tract Infections: Colds, bronchitis, chronic tonsillitis, pneumonia, sinusitis and chronic sinus infections all produce extra mucous which aid in the over production of bad breath producing bacteria.
- Dry Mouth (xerostomia): A dry mouth is a bad breath bacteria haven. Without saliva constantly washing away bacteria and neutralizing acids produced by plaque, the mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria which will cause your breath to stink.
- Tobacco Products: Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco leave chemicals in the mouth that not only smell bad, but also contribute to diseases such as gingivitis and periodontal disease and mouth cancer.
- Alcohol and Alcoholism: In the October 2007 issue of the Journal of Dental Research, Professor Mel Rosenberg from the Department of Human Microbiology and The Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University published a study that linked alcohol with bad breath. Alcohol is a diuretic and when it is consumed in large quantities, it will dehydrate you. Dehydration of the body means that you will have a dry mouth because the saliva production is dramatically decreased and that allows bacteria to rapidly build up and coat the mouth which will give you bad stinky breath. Alcoholism also causes problems with the stomach, esophagus, mouth and throat. Health issues like acid reflux, mouth cancer and throat cancer which are exacerbated by alcohol all cause bad breath.
- Morning Breath: As stated previously, saliva production is dramatically reduced while we sleep and this aids in the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth which cause bad breath.
- Mouth Breathing: Allergies, snoring, sleep apnea, and asthma can cause excessive breathing through the mouth which not only dries out the mouth, but it makes the mouth a bacteria breeding ground.
- Dentures or Braces: Because dentures and braces make it hard to keep food particles and plaque off the teeth, the bacteria and rotting food produce bad breath.
- Low Carb or Protein-only Diets: When the body doesn’t get enough carbohydrates, it breaks down the extra fat stored in the body to give it energy which causes ketones to be released. Ketones give you smelly breath.
Did those reasons help you understand your bad breath?
Yes, I said, “your” bad breath because “I” do not have bad breath. Ha! Ha!