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What causes bad breath?

  • During sleep, especially in the morning, saliva flow almost stops during sleep and lack of this cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, resulting bad breath.
  • Foods containing odor-causing compounds, such as garlic, onions, etc. These enter the blood stream and they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits cause food particles to remain in the mouth, promoting bacterial growth.
  • In periodontal (gum) disease, bacteria colonies can thrive from food debris residing under inflamed gums.
  • Dental cavities
  • Improperly fitted dental appliances
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia) may be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous through-the-mouth breathing.
  • Tobacco products dry the mouth, causing bad breath.
  • In diabetics and during dieting, certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
  • Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals again allow bacterial growth, while drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
  • Certain medical conditions and illnesses can contribute. Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.

If you start keeping a record of what you eat, this may help identify the cause of bad breath. As well, review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with Dr. Capati.


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