Halitosis is the medical term used for bad breath. Bad breath can be caused by numerous factors, and many people do not even know they have it. Know the signs that you may have bad breath so you can prevent it.
Health problems such as periodontal gum disease, yeast infections of the mouth, tooth cavities, extremely dry mouth, medications, mouth breathing or lack of saliva, and chronic gastric reflux all cause bad breath. Infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and postnasal drip, diabetes and liver and kidney diseases also can cause bad breath.
Detecting Bad Breath
1. Check your tongue. The tongue should be pink and shiny. If it is white or dry, you may have bad breath. It is important to brush and floss your teeth and tongue (or use a tongue scraper) each day, as bacteria can grow between teeth and on the tongue, causing bad breath.
2. Foods such as onions and garlic and gastric reflux disease cause bad breath. These foods have strong odors and stay with the body until they have passed completely through the body systems. Since your mouth is where all your food is broken down, it makes sense that foods are absorbed into your blood stream and carried to your lungs and given off in your breath.
Most people breathe into their hands to check for bad breath. You can also lick the back of your hand and let it dry for a few seconds then smell that area. If it smells bad, you have bad breath.
3. Dental problems such as tooth cavities, gum disease, plaque or dirty dentures can create bad breath. Maintain good oral care with daily brushing and flossing. See your dentist for a proper cleaning every six months.
4. Dry mouth can be caused by a lack of saliva from dehydration, medications or mouth breathing (morning breath) and smoking. Smoking does dry out your mouth and causes unpleasant mouth odors.
5. Diseases such as diabetes or kidney or liver problems cause bad breath. Any lung disease, sinus infection, tonsillitis, pneumonia or bronchitis can produce bad breath. With diabetes, kidney or liver failure you may have a fishy breath. Uncontrolled diabetes can also cause a fruity breath.
Eliminating Bad Breath
Drink plenty of water. Some mouth rinses recommended by your dentist can kill odor producing bacteria. Use alcohol free mouthwash as the alcohol dries out the mouth that can exacerbate bad breath. Chewing sugar-free gum can produce saliva to eliminate bad breath.
Avoid foods that cause bad breath and limit sweet candy and chocolate, as the sugar prompts bacteria to reproduce in the mouth. Green tea has anti-bacterial properties to eliminate bad breath, as does cinnamon. Fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples produce more saliva in your mouth and help to expel bacteria. Oranges also help to eliminate bacteria, as they are high in vitamin C. If halitosis persists despite changes mentioned, consult your healthcare provider to rule out a more serious problem.
Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/bad-breath
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bad-breath/DS00025/DSECTION=symptoms