Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common and embarrassing condition that affects more than 30% of people. Bad breath is the presence of a bad odor that seems to originate from the mouth cavity. In more than 90% of bad breath cases, the foul smell comes from the throat, tonsils, and the mouth. Most of the people suffer from this condition at one time or another, but it can be controlled by improving your oral care routine (brushing, flossing and using mouthwash). If your mouth odor does not go away even though you are cleaning your mouth properly each day, then you are probably suffering from chronic bad breath.

The foul oral smell usually is resulted from a group of anaerobic (living without oxygen) bacteria that produce sulfur beneath the surface of your tongue or tonsils area.

The causes of bad breath

There are four main causes that can generate halitosis, including:

Dry mouth or xerostomia provides the perfect environment for bacteria to reproduce. Due to the lack of saliva people will experience a foul breath. Many things can reduce the levels of saliva in your mouth, such as dehydration, certain medications’ side-effect, smoking, consuming sugars, breathing through the mouth, cancer treatments, etc.

Poor dental hygiene can cause the bacteria to build up in your gums and teeth. Teeth are unable to shed their surfaces like the skin, so all the microorganisms that get attached will remain there for an extended period. This is known as dental plaque, which is the sticky-whitish film you find on your teeth in the morning.

Disease or illness is the cause of bad breath for more than 10% of all halitosis cases. People who suffer from lung disease, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, respiratory infections, and metabolic disorders can experience a bad breath due to dry mouth. Other conditions that can cause bad breath are sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, post nasal drip, and polyps.

Five ways of treating the bad breath at home

  1. Advanced oral-care products. You should ask your dentist which are the best products you should use to manage bad breath.
  2. Proper oral care. You have to brush your teeth at least twice every day, or as much as your dentist has recommended. Be sure to reach all the tight places and use a soft-bristled toothbrush. The toothpaste you should use should contain fluoride. Flossing will help you remove and clean the food between your teeth. You can also use mouthwash that does not contain alcohol to help freshen up your breath.
  3. Stimulate saliva flow. You can prevent dry mouth by drinking a lot of water. You can also chew sugar-free gum, mints, and lozenges.
  4. Consume fibrous vegetables and fruits. This is one of the best ways of reducing the levels of bacteria in your mouth. For example, you can try eating an apple each day, as it will moisten your mouth.
  5. Brush your teeth with baking soda from time to time. By cleaning with baking soda, you will help neutralize the acidity in your mouth and lower the bacteria.

If you tried all this and your bad breath did not go away, you should get checked up by a dentist because it could be the sign of another problem, such as an unknown cavity.