Are you worried that your lunch caused your afternoon bad breath? Although most people realize that certain foods can have an impact on their kisser, the fact of the matter is that there are other factors that can affect how your breath smells. Here are three strange causes of bad breath, and what you might be able to do about it.
1: Bacterial Buildup on your Tongue
As you eat, your mouth, tongue, and teeth work hard to pulverize and mix your food into a digestible paste. Although most people understand that leftover food residue can collect on your teeth, some folks forget that their tongue can become covered with microscopic compounds that provide a quick food source for a load of oral bacteria.
Most adults have around 25 different strains of bacteria in their mouths, which release smelly chemicals called volatile sulfur compounds as they multiply. Unfortunately, because the surface of your tongue is covered with taste buds and tiny ridges, there are lots of areas for these bacteria to hide, and simple brushing might not be enough to take care of the odors that they can cause.
The good news is that you might be able to physically remove bacteria and food particulates by using a device called a tongue scraper. These dull plastic devices are shaped sort of like a traditional razor, and they are used to scrape the surface of the tongue from back to front. Although experts have mixed opinions regarding the effectiveness of tongue scrapers, one Brazilian study showed that the use of a tongue scraper reduced volatile sulfur compounds by 75%.
2: A Parched Palate
Although many people take it for granted, saliva helps you in more ways than just softening hard foods or providing you with entertainment while you are up on a balcony. Believe it or not, your spit helps to wash away food residue that can cause seriously stinky breath. Unfortunately, if you suffer from dry mouth, these food particles can stick around, slowly decompose, and cause bad breath.
Dry mouth is often caused by dehydration, certain medications, salivary gland conditions, or breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. However, you don't have to let your parched palate ruin your breath. By chewing gum, you can boost your saliva production up to ten times its normal rate, which can wash away those particulates and make your breath better. Because removing food particles can also cut down on plaque buildup, chewing gum for 20 minutes after meals has been found to reduce instances of tooth decay by up to 40%.
The next time you pass by the gum section at the grocery store, remember that those chewy little sticks aren't just for make-out sessions. In addition to keeping your breath smelling great, gum might also keep you from suffering from painful cavities.
Have you ever been around someone and thought that they smelled sick? Although you might have chalked it up to your imagination, new research suggests that different illnesses can actually affect the way that people's breath smells. Here are a few sicknesses that you could come down with, and how it could affect your mouth odor.
- Upper Respiratory Infection: As your immune system attacks flu and cold viruses in your throat and lungs, your body produces extra mucus, which accumulates in the back of your throat. This mucus buildup can smell like rotting flesh, feces, or smelly feet.
- Diabetes: If you have an unmanaged case of diabetes, your body might attempt to break down fatty acids for energy, which can cause a serious medical condition called ketoacidosis. This complication can make a person's breath smell like fruity acetone.
If you notice that you or someone that you love suffers from bad breath, meet with a general dentist at a clinic like Valley Oak Dental Group Inc to address any dental issues that might be causing the problem. If your bad breath persists, consider meeting with your regular doctor to talk about potentially hidden health problems that might be making your breath stink.
Not only will an understanding of some of the underlying causes of bad breath help you to stay odor-free, but it might also prompt you to seek early treatment for a serious illness.