What causes bad breath?

March 10, 2023

By Dr. Shen

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can cause a big impact on your social life. Imagine being in a room
full of people and as you start your conversation, people around you start to move away. That’s a recipe
for social disaster! But don’t worry, your dentist may be able help.

One common cause of bad breath is when plaque and tartar start building up around your teeth. As
plaque accumulates, it produces a sticky film of bacteria that starts releasing an unpleasant smell. If not
brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and may eventually lead to gum disease (periodontitis). If
you have dentures, dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or don’t fit properly can harbor odor-causing
bacteria and food particles. Your tongue can also trap bacteria that produce odors.

Dry mouth also known as xerostomia can also contribute to bad breath. Saliva helps wash away food
particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath. It neutralizes acids produced by plaque, and wash
away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells
decompose and can cause bad breath. Moreover, certain foods, like onions, garlic, and spicy foods, can
cause bad breath that lingers for hours.

If you’re experiencing bad breath, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your dentist. They can help
determine the cause and recommend appropriate treatment, like a deep cleaning to remove calculus
build up under your gums or a saliva substitute to keep your mouth hydrated.

This article was published on 03-10-2023 in The Altamont Enterprise.