Unusual Reasons For Having Bad Breath
Why does bad breath develop?
Bad breath - or medically speaking 'halitosis' - is a common problem and there are a number of solutions. However, in order to effectively deal with bad breath you need to get to the root cause. Some of the things leading to odorous breath might surprise you.
The most common causes of bad breath - apart from poor dental hygiene - is the process of food breakdown and digestion. In particular when proteins/amino acids found within foods are broken down, certain chemicals are released:
- Methyl mercaptan
All of these gases can cause your breath to become odorous every time you have something to eat. This is because they are absorbed into the blood stream, from the large intestine, and will eventually be expelled from the body through the lungs.
Another common cause of bad breath is 'morning breath'. The majority of people do have some bad breath in the morning usually due to the saliva of the mouth drying up during sleep. This means that any residual food particles or dead cells, normally removed by saliva, begin to decay during the night. It's the process of the bacteria breaking down these particles that causes unpleasant smells on the breath. Once people have taken a drink and/or brushed their teeth the bad breath disappears.
However, as we shall see, not all bad breath problems are so easily identified.
Unusual causes of bad breath
We'll look now at some of the less well known causes for bad breath.
This might seem like an obvious one at first glance. However, bad breath caused by drinking often has nothing to do with the alcohol itself. When we drink alcohol it causes the digestive system to produce gases. These gases tend to rise up into the mouth causing bad breath. Alcohol also has a drying effect on the mouth that contributes to bad breath.
The Digestive System
If your digestive system is having a bad time, not only does this make you feel very uncomfortable but it can also cause bad breath.
For example, you may think that constipation couldn't possibly affect the way your breath smells. In fact, when this happens the digestive system produces foul smelling gases that can actually make their way up the body and be expelled through the mouth.
Having poor digestion in general can also lead to bad breath. Undigested or poorly digested food passes into the intestines where it decays. This releases foul gasses that can be detected through the mouth on your breath. Having a nutritious diet and drinking plenty of water is usually enough to get the digestive system back on track and get rid of nasty smells emanating from the mouth. In addition, when the diet is a balanced one this promotes the growth of good bacteria within the intestines. These limit the development of problem bacteria that can lead to bad breath.
Lastly, dehydration can also lead to bad breath as this condition dries out the mouth. When this happens, bacteria that are usually washed out by the saliva remains in the mouth and their activities causes bad breath. Ensuring that you drink plenty of water is usually enough to ensure that dehydration doesn't happen.
Crash or poor dieting habits
Going on a crash diet or low carbohydrate diets is never a good idea at any time - but especially if you are concerned about bad breath. When you go on this type of diet the body is stimulated to break down fats very quickly. This makes the body more acidic, producing a substance called ketones that can you can smell on the breath.
In addition, when you exercise vigorously without having a proper diet then ketones are produces in a similar way to crash dieting and can lead to bad breath.
It may seem unlikely that stress - the cause of so many health problems - could also lead to bad breath, but it does. The reason is that stress has a huge impact on the proper functioning of the digestive system. The result is that, due to tension, gases produced during the breakdown and digestion of food are often forced up the way leading to bad breath.
Natural ways to stop bad breath
Medical reasons for bad breath
There are a number of medical problems that can lead to bad breath. I've listed just a few but there are many more. In addition, people who are on regular medication, including pain relief, may find that as a side effect they develop a dry mouth. This can also lead to having regular bad breath.
As well as causing general ill health, bloating and other problems of the digestive system, parasites can also lead to bad breath. This is caused by the upset to the digestive system that these parasites cause, creating gases and also the toxins that they produce.
The Menstrual Cycle
As if we ladies didn't have enough to put up with during the monthly cycle, hormone changes during this time can also lead to bad breath. The pre-menstrual phase of the cycle is believed to be the time when bad breath may be at its worst. This is due to the increase of proteins in the saliva, which in turn feeds bacteria that release foul smelling gases. However, proper dental hygiene usually ensures that these bacteria don't cause any problems.
People who have a milk (lactose) intolerance are unable to digest milk and other daily products properly. As a result this leads to both stomach and intestinal problems when they eat these foods. Due to the upset in the digestive system, gases are produced that rise up the way causing bad breath. To cure this problem, people can avoid dairy products or when they do eat them they supplement their diet with the enzyme lactase.
When people suffer from sinus problems this can lead to nasal discharges dripping onto the back of the tongue. This mucous is packed with bacteria and possibly viruses that will cause bad breath. In addition, the natural oral bacteria will also feed on this mucous. During this process waste matter is made and this will cause bad breath. Once the cause of the sinus problem is cleared, then bad breath from this condition is no longer present.
I hope you've found this article useful in finding out the different causes of bad breath. Normally a good oral hygiene regime is more than enough to ward off bad breath. However, if you have continual problems then look a little further to your diet or lifestyle for the cause. If your odorous breath is due to a medical condition, then the treatment for this should help. However, if you have any concerns then speak to your doctor or your dentist for further advice.