Bad Breath: Causes And Coping Mechanisms

Posted on: 26 November 2019


Bad breath is usually caused by volatile compounds in the mouth. These are compounds that easily evaporate and escape the mouth, triggering the dreaded odor. Bad breath typically comprises numerous chemicals, but the most common ones include sulfur compounds, acids (fatty and organic), aromatic compounds (such as ammonia), and alcohol.

Where They Come From

The causes of bad breath are as numerous as the compounds themselves. Some of the common culprits include food, medication, and tobacco products. These things cause bad breath in different ways. The chemicals in tobacco naturally have odors; these chemicals trigger mouth odor when they become trapped in your mouth. Food, which is one of the leading causes of bad breath, feeds bacteria that produce volatile compounds. Medication can either dry your mouth or get absorbed in your mouth and get released as a bad breath.

It is also possible for the condition of the mouth, rather than specific products, to cause bad breath. For example, you can develop bad breath if your mouth is dry because you won't have saliva to wash away bacteria in your mouth. Some oral diseases, such as periodontitis, also increase bad breath since they increase the level of bacteria in the oral cavity. Even poor oral hygiene can trigger bad breath by allowing bacteria to thrive in your mouth.

There are also cases where the bad breath is technically not a condition of the mouth. For example, certain diseases trigger acid reflux that can end up filling the mouth with bad breath.

Coping Mechanisms

Ideally, you need to diagnose the root cause of your bad breath and eliminate it to regain your fresh breath. However, there are a few common tips that can help with bad breath.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

As discussed above, the abundance of bacteria in the mouth is one of the triggers of bad breath. Therefore, maintaining impeccable oral hygiene is an excellent way of combating mouth odor. Apart from regular brushing and flossing, you also need to scrape your tongue to get rid of bacteria and bits of food that are usually trapped on the tongue.

Avoid Tobacco

The best way to deal with a tobacco-related bad odor is to avoid smoking. This is because there is no way you can use tobacco and not absorb its chemicals in your mouth. The absorption of the chemicals means brushing and flossing won't help here. Besides, tobacco also dries up the mouth, and dry mouth is a precursor to bad breath.

Deal with Oral Ailments

Lastly, you also need to take care of any emerging oral ailments because they trigger bad breath. Don't hesitate to consult your dentist if you have a loose tooth, emerging gum disease, or a cracked tooth.  The sooner you fix such issues, the better you will avoid bad mouth odor.