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Everybody occasionally has unpleasant breath. This can result from eating certain foods or drinks, bad oral hygiene habits, or other underlying health conditions. Whether or not you have bad breath, it’s still important to maintain your oral health at 4th Street Dental Studio in Columbus, Ohio. 

Definition of Bad Breath

Bad breath or halitosis is a persistent, foul odor in human breath. Bad breath happens when sulfur-producing bacteria in the throat and on the tongue surface break down proteins rapidly and release smelly volatile sulfur compounds (VSC).

What is the Most Common Cause of Bad Breath?

The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene.

  • Oral Hygiene: There are numerous potential causes of bad breath, but most cases start in the mouth. Neglecting your oral hygiene causes an increase of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which can produce bad breath. Poor oral hygiene may include:
    • Lack of regular teeth brushing and flossing: When you do not brush and floss regularly, bacteria build up on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. These bacteria produce sulfur compounds, which cause your breath to stink.
    • Bacteria build on the tongue: Failure to brush your tongue might also allow odor-producing bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
    • Dry mouth: Saliva aids in the cleansing of your mouth by eliminating particles that cause foul odors. A dry mouth, which causes “morning breath,” frequently happens while we sleep, and it gets worse if we sleep with our mouths open. An issue with your salivary glands or some disorders can cause chronic dry mouth.

What Medical Conditions Can Cause Bad Breath?

Some cases of bad breath can result from medical conditions such as:

  • Sinus Infection: Sinusitis or sinus infection can make your breath unpleasant. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses caused by a bacterial infection. When bacteria spread from your nose to your throat, they can produce an extremely unpleasant odor in your breath.
  • Respiratory Tract Infections: Respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, viral colds, and strep throat can contribute to postnasal drip and cause poor breath.
  • GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause unpleasant breath. It occurs because your stomach acid flows backward into your esophagus. This acidic backwash might irritate your esophageal lining, leading to severe discomfort.
  • Liver and Kidney Disease: Your liver and kidneys remove toxins from your body. However, these toxic substances are not eliminated in people with liver or renal failure, leading to halitosis.

What Lifestyle Factors Can Cause Bad Breath?

Some risk factors that can be the cause of your bad breath in day-to-day living may include:

  • Smoking or Tobacco Use: Tobacco itself causes mouth odor. Additionally, smokers and other tobacco users are more prone to experience dry mouth, which raises the possibility of developing gum disease. Gum disease is a common cause of bad breath.
  • Certain Foods and Drinks: Additionally, sugary drinks and eating foods like onions, garlic, and spices might contribute to bad breath. These meals enter your bloodstream after digestion and are delivered to your lungs, where they affect your breathing.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol can make your mouth dry, which helps the halitosis-causing bacteria flourish.
  • Stress: Occasionally, when we are anxious, our mouths go dry. Dry mouth is linked to the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Together, these hormones can alter the development of the VSC bacterium, which causes bad breath.

Improve Your Breath Today

Bad breath can undermine your self-confidence and prevent you from fully embracing life. To avoid bad breath, it’s beneficial to practice good oral hygiene, drink plenty of water, and continue to see a dental professional for regular checkups. See your dentist if your persistent bad breath does not respond to home cures. Contact 4th Street Dental Studio and schedule an appointment with Dr. Wood to find the cause of the problem and potential treatments in Columbus, Ohio.

Robert D. Wood, DDS

Robert D. Wood II, DDS

Third-generation dentist and Nashville native Dr. Robert D. Wood II leverages his professional experience to deliver superior dental care at his Columbus-based practice, 4th Street Dental Studio. An advocate for preventative medicine, Dr. Wood combines his patient-centric approach with his talent for transforming dental visits from daunting experiences into positive ones. Beyond his practice, he enjoys exploring Columbus, engaging in outdoor activities, and is an active member of several dental associations and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.