Bad breath, is breath that has an unpleasant odor. This odor can strike periodically or be persistent, depending on the cause. In many people, the primary cause of bad breath is the millions of bacteria that live in the mouth (particularly on the back of the tongue) .The mouth’s warm, moist conditions make an ideal environment for these bacteria to grow.
Some types of bad breath, such as “morning mouth,” are considered to be fairly normal, and they usually are not health concerns. The “morning mouth” type of bad breath occurs because the saliva that regularly washes away decaying food and odors during the daytime diminishes at night while you sleep. Your mouth becomes dry, and dead cells adhere to your tongue and to the inside of your cheeks. Bacteria use these cells for food and expel compounds that have a foul odor.
In addition, bad breath can be caused by the following:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Infections in the mouth
- Respiratory tract infections
- External agents — Garlic, onions, coffee, cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco
- Dry mouth — This can be caused by salivary gland problems, medications or by “mouth breathing.”
Bad breath caused by dental problems can be prevented easily. Daily brushing your teeth, tongue and gums after meals, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwashes. Regular visits to the dentist (at least twice a year) should be made for dental examinations and for professional teeth and gum cleaning.
Bad breath also can be combated by drinking plenty of water every day to encourage saliva production. Other products that keep breath fresh and prevent plaque from forming include sugar-free gum, sugarless lozenges, raw carrots and celery.