Bad Breath In Adults VERIFIED
If chronic bad breath is due to an underlying health condition, then there may be some trial and error to figure out what works for you. Your healthcare provider may need to try different medications or change your dosages. Or they may ask to run more tests to determine the exact cause.
bad breath in adults
Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be embarrassing and in some cases may even cause anxiety. It's no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to fight bad breath. But many of these products are only temporary measures because they don't address the cause of the problem.
Certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath. In many cases, you can improve bad breath with consistent proper dental hygiene. If simple self-care techniques don't solve the problem, see your dentist or physician to be sure a more serious condition isn't causing your bad breath.
Bad breath odors vary, depending on the source or the underlying cause. Some people worry too much about their breath even though they have little or no mouth odor, while others have bad breath and don't know it. Because it's difficult to assess how your own breath smells, ask a close friend or relative to confirm your bad-breath questions.
If your bad breath persists after making such changes, see your dentist. If your dentist suspects a more serious condition is causing your bad breath, he or she may refer you to a physician to find the cause of the odor.
Certain foods. The things you eat are linked to your oral health, including your breath. Items such as garlic and onions, or any food, are absorbed into the bloodstream. Until that food leaves the body, it has the potential to affect your breath.
Dry mouth (Xerostomia). This condition is often a key part of halitosis. When there is a major decrease in saliva production, the mouth can't cleanse itself and remove debris and particles left behind by food. Dry mouth may be caused by certain medicines, a salivary gland disorder, or by always breathing through the mouth instead of the nose.
Tobacco products. Tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and snuff stain the teeth and put the body at risk for a host of diseases. But they also help cause bad breath. Tobacco users also are at higher risk for the following:
Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. You can take steps to prevent and treat halitosis, at home and with the help of your dentist or doctor.
Basically, all the food eaten begins to be broken down in your mouth. Also, foods are absorbed into your bloodstream and move to the lungs, affecting the air you exhale. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing -- even mouthwash -- merely cover up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body. Other common foods that can cause bad breath include:
If you don't brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) from poor dental hygiene can also cause bad breath.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause toxins to form, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.
The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize 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. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth. In fact, morning breath is worse for people who sleep with their mouths open.
Almost everyone experiences bad breath once in a while. But for some people, bad breath is a daily problem, and they struggle to find a solution. Approximately 30% of the population complains of some sort of bad breath. Halitosis (Latin for "bad breath") often occurs after a garlicky meal or in the morning after waking. Other causes of temporary halitosis include some beverages (including alcoholic drinks or coffee) and tobacco smoking.
Tonsillitis, respiratory infections such as sinusitis or bronchitis, and some gastrointestinal diseases may be responsible for a small number of cases of bad breath. Advanced liver or kidney disease and uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to unpleasant breath. In these cases, a person is likely to experience significant symptoms beyond bad breath, and should seek medical attention.
Sometimes people think they have bad breath, even when their breath is objectively fine. This is called "pseudo-halitosis." Halitophobia, or fear of bad breath, is real and may persist despite reassurance from a doctor. People with pseudo-halitosis respond well to reassurance, and may benefit from speaking with a therapist or psychiatrist who has expertise in the field.
A person complaining of bad breath can be initially evaluated by a primary care physician (PCP). The doctor will begin with a thorough medical and dental history and an oral exam. Tests may be done to confirm the presence of halitosis by measuring the strength of bad breath on a predefined scale, and by using instruments to detect specific compounds related to halitosis. The intensity of malodor is usually assessed by the doctor smelling the air that the person breathes out through the nose or mouth, or from judging the odor of a tongue scraping, a length of dental floss, or a dental appliance such as a night guard.
Your PCP may refer you to a dentist if there is evidence of dental or gum problems, which is the cause in the majority of people with bad breath. Visits with other medical specialists are warranted when an underlying medical problem requires attention.
Alcohol consumption is another culprit of bad breath, so the more often you drink - the more likely you are to experience it. Drinking alcohol, particularly in excess, causes a decrease in saliva production, which is the best environment for odor-causing bacteria to flourish.
In addition to adventurous or spicy foods, diets that are high in sugar and protein can also result in bad breath. A diet high in sugar can lead to bad breath and could be the culprit for halitosis due to how sugars interact with the existing bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria that naturally exist in your mouth feed on sugars turning sweet treats in to sour smells.
Poor digestion, constipation, or bowel disorders can all cause unfortunate odor on the breath. If you frequently experience acid reflux, the odors from recently consumed foods may easily make their way back up the esophagus and out the mouth, causing bad breath.
Saliva helps keep your mouth clean by removing food particles that lead to bad breath. When the production of saliva slackens or stops, a condition known as xerostomia, bad breath is likely to follow. This happens naturally while you sleep, which is why most people find their breath to be a bit stinky upon waking up. But if the problem persists throughout the day, treatment may be worth considering.
Hundreds of prescription medications come with the side effect of dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, when saliva production decreases, the environment for odor-causing bacteria thrives. Any extended period of time with cotton mouth can cause discomfort and lead to bad breath. Additionally, some medications, when broken down in the body, release chemicals that can be carried through your blood stream to your breath.
Although most bad breath is caused by odor-causing bacteria, there are a number of other health conditions that may be contributing to the problem. Bad breath can be a warning sign that other diseases or illnesses are present. Postnasal drip, respiratory and tonsil infections, sinus problems, diabetes, liver and kidney issues, as well as certain blood disorders can all cause bad breath. In some rarer cases, bad breath could be a sign of cancer or other serious conditions like metabolic disorders.
Halitosis (bad breath) is mostly caused by sulphur-producing bacteria that normally live on the surface of the tongue and in the throat. Sometimes, these bacteria start to break down proteins at a very high rate and odorous volatile sulphur compounds (VSC) are released from the back of the tongue and throat. Halitosis is not infectious. About 2.4% of the adult population suffers from bad breath.
Simple home remedies and lifestyle changes, such as improved dental hygiene and quitting smoking, can often remove the issue. If bad breath persists, however, it is advisable to visit a doctor to check for underlying causes.
Often, a dentist will simply smell the breath of a person with suspected halitosis and rate the odor on a six-point intensity scale. The dentist may scrape the back of the tongue and smell the scrapings as this area can often be a source of the aroma.
Design: After fasting overnight for 12 h, 12 healthy adults consumed 4 ketogenic meals over 12 h. Blood, breath, and urine samples were collected hourly. Blood was analyzed for plasma acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate, breath for acetone, and urine for acetoacetate.
Results: By the end of the 12-h dietary treatment, plasma acetoacetate, plasma beta-hydroxybutyrate, and breath acetone had increased 3.5-fold, whereas urinary acetoacetate increased 13-fold when measured enzymatically and 25-fold when measured with urinary ketone dipsticks. Plasma acetoacetate was best predicted by breath acetone (R(2) = 0.70, P