Bad Breath: Good and Bad Foods
A combination of diet and dental hygiene is the best defense against bad breath.
Why Your Breath Gets Stinky
The most common cause of bad breath isn't a smelly food. It's bacteria in
“The microbes that reside in your mouth feast on food particles and dead
cells, producing sulfur compounds that cause halitosis,” Harper Mallonee
Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss once to remove the debris that
results in bad breath, the American Dental Association advises.
“It’s also important to clean your tongue,” says Vankevich.
Masking mouth bacteria with rinses is a temporary solution to bad breath,
one that Vankevich discourages. Over-the-counter rinses contain often alcohol,
which dries out mouth tissues, decreases saliva production, and worsens bad
breath in the long run.
Bad Breath Can Signal Medical Conditions
If your dental hygiene and your diet are in order, but your halitosis won't
quit, it may be time to consult a doctor or dentist.
Bad breath can result from certain health conditions.
Blocked sinus passages and post-nasal drip may result in bad breath that
will eventually pass. But Vankevich warns that persistent halitosis can
be a sign of something bigger.
Periodontal disease, a serious
inflammation of the gums that can cause tooth and bone damage, also causes bad
breath. Certain lung conditions, kidney and liver disease, chronic irritation
of the stomach and esophagus, and autoimmune
disorders, such as Sjogren's syndrome, may lead to halitosis.
Chronically dry mouth, called xerostomia, contributes to oral microbial
growth. Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuously
breathing through the mouth.
Very-low-calorie diets and high-protein eating plans promote rapid breakdown
of body fat, resulting in ketoacidosis, a condition that may also be present in
uncontrolled diabetes. Ketoacidosis
gives breath a fruity smell.
If, despite your best efforts to control halitosis, you still suffer from
it, see your doctor or dentist to rule out underlying disorders.