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  • By The Center of Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
  • February 28, 2022
  • Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a source of embarrassment and self-consciousness. The insecurity and discomfort of having it can affect one's social interactions and overall self-esteem.


    The cause of bad breath can range from simple lifestyle habits, such as poor oral hygiene, to more serious underlying health conditions. It is a common condition, yet many people need to be aware of the steps they can take to freshen their breath and improve their oral health.


    What Causes Bad Breath?


    • Poor Dental Hygiene


    Poor dental hygiene can be a significant cause of bad breath. When teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, plaque builds up in the mouth and produces volatile sulfur compounds. Plaque buildup is one of the main causes of bad breath. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. The compounds from the bacteria are the leading cause of bad breath.


    Bacteria survive best in the warm, moist environment of the mouth. They multiply and produce bad breath when not removed through regular brushing and flossing.


    • Different Foods


    Certain foods can contribute to bad breath by leaving odor-causing compounds in the mouth. When foods break down in the mouth because of the enzymes, they release different compounds. For instance, garlic and onions can cause bad breath due to the sulfur compounds they release. Similarly, spicy foods can also cause bad breath due to the strong odors they emit when broken down in the stomach.


    Foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates can also cause bad breath. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar, allowing them to produce volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath.


    • Tobacco Products


    Tobacco products, such as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, can cause bad breath. It comes from the strong odor of tobacco smoke and the chemicals they contain. The smoke and chemicals dry out the mouth, causing an overgrowth of bacteria that can lead to bad breath. The odor of the smoke can stick to clothing and hair, making it difficult to get rid of the smell and leading to chronic bad breath.


    • Dry Mouth


    Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can cause bad breath. Saliva plays a vital role in keeping the mouth moist and clean. It helps neutralize the acid produced by bacteria and wash away food particles. When the mouth is dry, there is less saliva to perform these functions. It often leads to an overgrowth of bacteria and bad breath.


    • Various Medications


    Certain medications can cause dry mouth, which in turn can lead to bad breath. A dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications, as it can reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth. As mentioned above, a dry mouth leads to bad breath caused by an overgrowth of bacteria. Medications that can cause dry mouth include antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and diuretics.


    To better understand the causes of bad breath, visit The Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry at our offices in Destin, Panama City Beach, or Navarre, Florida. Call (850) 810-0300, 850-810-0600, or 850-409-6400 to book an appointment today.

    Hours of Operation

    Monday8:00am - 4:00pm
    Tuesday8:00am - 4:00pm
    Wednesday8:00am - 4:00pm
    Thursday7:00am - 3:00pm
    Friday7:00am - 3:00pm


    We offer free cosmetic consultations.

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