Bad breath (halitosis) can be embarrassing. But does having bad breath automatically indicate that you are a bad brusher? Not necessarily.
Although poor oral health habits are one cause of bad breath, it can also be caused or worsened by several other factors, such as diet, lifestyle, disease or medication.
Certain foods have strong odors, and are likely to stick around in your mouth for a while after mealtime. Chances are you’ve heard someone refer to “garlic breath” after they eat a delicious Italian meal. That’s because garlic, like onion, is a strong-odor food. Typically this odor goes away after the food has been digested, and you can decrease the odor by brushing, flossing, or using mouthwash after your meal.
Other foods, such as sugary foods or starchy carbs, can promote bad breath because they are a target for bacteria. Rinsing your mouth after sugary or starchy, high-carb meals or snacks can help minimize bacteria that causes odors.
Oral health is closely related to lifestyle choices, as well. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you are much more likely to have bad breath, as the tobacco leaves chemicals in you mouth that contribute to odors.
Frequent snacking or not drinking enough water can worsen halitosis by increasing your teeth’s exposure to foods that attract bacteria.
Several diseases and medications are associated with dry mouth. Since saliva is necessary to neutralize acids and wash away debris in the mouth, dry mouth can leave your mouth prone to food and bacteria build up and odors.
Conditions such as bronchitis, diabetes, and liver or kidney problems have also been shown to contribute to bad breath.
If you feel that your oral health habits are on track, but are still experiencing bad breath, talk to Dr. Leonard or your doctor to discuss what else may be the cause. To schedule an appointment, call 952-443-3368.