Bad breath, also known as ‘halitosis’, can occur from time to time, and can also be long-lasting, depending on the cause.
Bad breath such as ‘morning mouth’ is considered normal, and there is no major cause for health concerns. ‘Morning mouth’ condition can be attributed to changes in our mouth during our sleep. During day time, our saliva acts as the agent that washes away decaying food and bad odors.
Since our body creates less saliva during night time, generally mouth gets dry and dead cells tend to stick to the tongue, and also to the inside of cheeks. When bacteria use these cells for food, they produce a foul odor. Brushing and flossing thoroughly before bed, and brushing our teeth and tongue first thing in the morning, will usually eliminate morning breath.
Bad breath can be caused by other factors such as:
• Poor dental hygiene (Not frequently brushing and flossing properly allows collected food to decay in the mouth). You will notice the symptoms when teeth are coated with film or plaque. You may notice food trapped between the teeth and pale or swollen gums.
• Gum disease
• Infections in the mouth — Periodontal (gum) disease
• Respiratory tract infections — Throat infection, swollen glands in the neck, sinus or stuffy nose, lung infections
• External Agents – Eating onions or garlic, drinking coffee, chewing tobacco, smoking cigarettes
• Dry mouth – xerostomia (caused by medications, medical disorders, decreased saliva flow during sleep, and ‘mouth breathing’)
• Systemic illnesses – such as cancer, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, sinus conditions, reflux disease among others.
• Psychiatric illness – pseudohalitosis (some people believe they have bad breath, but others do not notice it)
Incase you notice having persistent bad breath which is not improving with brushing and flossing, its time you see your dentist for a thorough dental examination.