Bad breath is a disorder that causes social and psychological problems rather than biological problems. Although the first reason that comes to our mind is tooth decay or gum disease, there are many different reasons for bad breath.
90% of bad breath is caused by problems in the mouth, but many factors, from respiratory diseases to unconscious diets and even antidepressant use, can cause bad breath. The diagnosis is made by the dentist and is carried out with the support of physicians such as ENT specialists, gastroenterologists,s and psychiatrists.
What causes bad breath?
Bad smell, which is called halitosis in medical language, is defined as a bad smell that is felt without the need for close contact at any time of the day and regardless of the substances we drink. Most people wake up in the morning with bad breath. This situation, which we consider physiological, takes a few hours. The reduced saliva flow during sleep is due to gases accumulated in the digestive tract. The odor that occurs after feeding is also physiological. It is formed by the removal of volatile gases of aromatic foods such as garlic into the blood.
Other conditions that cause bad breath can be dental caries, periodontal diseases, worn prostheses, deformed crowns and bridges, oral wounds, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, semi-buried 20-year-old teeth, and smoking.
How does a bad smell occur?
Bad breath is caused by anaerobic bacteria that live in an oxygen-free environment. Sulfur gases produced by anaerobic bacteria by dissolving food residues are the main cause of bad breath. There are certain areas in the mouth where these bacteria settle. Between the teeth, gum pockets, tongue surface are suitable for bacteria to settle.
Mouth temperature and acidic environment provide a facilitating effect for bacteria to multiply. The tongue surface has a rough, dimpled structure. Food particles, mucus, blood, dead tissues, carbohydrate-protein can accumulate on this surface. Since the back of the tongue and throat are areas with low oxygen, bacterial growth is also easier. Saliva also has an effect on the formation of bad breath. Saliva has an antibacterial effect by transporting oxygen. Therefore, reduced saliva flow may lead to halitosis.
May not originate from inside the mouth
There are also non-oral causes that cause bad breath. For example, respiratory reasons may be involved. Nose and throat infections such as sinusitis, tonsillitis, respiratory tract tumors, tonsil stones, and nasal discharge can cause bad breath. Bad breath can also occur for reasons related to the digestive tract. Aromatic gas anywhere in the digestive tract is released through the mouth. Helicobacter pylori gastritis, bacterial growth in the small intestine, lactose intolerance, reflux, and pancreatic disorders can be factors. Lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia, adenitis, and bronchitis can also cause bad smell.
Changes in blood biochemistry (diabetes, gout, kidney failure) can also cause bad breath. Apart from these, we can list other factors that cause bad breath as follows:
Some medications used (eg some antidepressants and neoplastic drugs)
Vitamin A, vitamin B12 deficiency
Iron and zinc deficiency
– Diets made wrong due to lack of fluid, hunger
Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco
Things to do to prevent bad breath
– After the problems that may arise from the mouth are eliminated, the patient should gain good oral hygiene. It is important to use correct and effective tooth brushing, use dental floss and tongue brush, and ensure the cleaning of prostheses if any.
– Using zinc-containing mouthwash and chewing gum works.
– It is necessary to pay attention to the consumption of plenty of water.
– Not being hungry is effective in preventing bad breath.
– It is necessary to pay attention to taking foods rich in probiotics.
– Snacks such as walnuts and peanuts, cinnamon, herbal teas, mint, parsley, apple, cucumber can help prevent bad breath.