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Why Do I Have Bad Breath?

September 5, 2022

Logic says you'll have fresh breath if you do an excellent job of keeping up with your dental health. Perhaps you're wondering why your breath smells even if you try to eat a healthy diet, brush, floss, and see the dentist regularly. A general dentist in Denver can give you the possible reasons behind your less-than-pleasant breath.

Ask your general dentist in Denver about bad breath

Top Reasons Why You Have Bad Breath

You Just Woke Up

Your saliva flushes out odor-causing bacteria and food particles stuck between your teeth and along your gum line. Since your salivary glands produce less saliva while you’re sleeping, bacteria build up in your dry mouth at night. As a result, you wake up with increased bacteria levels in the mouth and smelly breath.

Thankfully, you can keep your breath fresh by brushing before bed and immediately when you wake up. You'll want to see your dentist if your breath still smells funky after taking proper oral hygiene measures.

You Have Unique Saliva Composition and Oral Bacteria  

Your unique saliva composition and levels of oral bacteria determine how your breath will smell in different situations. For example, one person can wake up with horrible morning breath while their partner wakes up smelling like they just rinsed with mouthwash. Sometimes, this may not have anything to do with how often your brush or floss.

You Breathe Through Your Mouth

Breathing through your mouth causes your saliva to evaporate. This habit dries out your mouth, reduces your ability to wash away food particles, and causes bad breath. While mouth-breathing usually happens during sleep, it also occurs when during exercise.  

Moreover, studies show that those who spend most of their time training are more likely to have cavities. Additionally, experts speculated that reduced salivary flow often occurs while people engage in strenuous physical activities. For this reason, it’s best to replenish your fluids and stay hydrated during a workout to avoid bad breath.

You Have Cavities

Without good oral hygiene, a sticky film of bacteria called plaque builds up on your teeth. Over time, plaque buildup will cause bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that attack and weaken your tooth enamel until you develop cavities. Moreover, cavities typically result from tooth decay or damage to the tooth’s surface.  

Unless you practice good oral hygiene, food caught in hard-to-clean cavities will linger there for an extended period, leading to more bad breath. If you've got a cavity, you'll need a filling.

You Love Smelly Food

While everyone knows garlic and onions cause bad breath, few are aware of other offenders, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, and cauliflower. Although their pungent aroma may fade after an hour, they will come back up when you burp.

It's worth noting that smelly breath can stem from your gastrointestinal tract and not just your mouth. Digesting these foods releases volatile sulfur compounds that enter the bloodstream, reach your lungs, and produce a distinctive scent each time you breathe.

Furthermore, these bad breath-causing chemicals will continue to make their presence known until they leave your body. Consequently, avoiding these foods is one of the best ways to keep your breath fresh.

You Skip Meals

If you haven’t eaten all day, don’t be surprised If your breath smells. Your salivary glands don’t produce as much saliva when you don't eat.  

You’re on a Low-Carb or High-Protein Diet

Slashing your carbohydrate intake increases your chances of having bad breath. When your body doesn’t get enough carbohydrates, it enters into a state of ketosis. This metabolic state occurs when the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. As this happens, the body releases organic compounds called ketones through the mouth that cause your breath to smell funky.  

Likewise, consuming high-protein foods on an extreme diet causes bad breath. Since your body won't be able to break down an excessive amount of proteins efficiently, it produces a metabolic byproduct called ammonia. One of the ways your body eliminates this chemical compound is through exhalation. Unfortunately, ammonia makes your breath smell like cat pee.

Diagram of bacterias at genergal dentist office in Denver

You Smoke Tobacco Products

Besides reducing your saliva production, smoking cigarettes or cigars changes your saliva’s quality and leaves bad breath-causing chemical compounds in your mouth. In addition, smoking leaves a stale scent that lingers in your throat and lungs.

You Drink Too Much Alcohol

If you think alcohol doesn't linger on your breath long past the last call, think again. Drinking too much alcohol causes your body to convert the substance to bad breath-causing acetic acid. Additionally, alcohol consumption dries out your mouth by slowing down your saliva production.

You Have Gum Disease

Gum disease results from gum infections and inflammation that may also affect the bone that holds your teeth in place. Furthermore, gum disease is called gingivitis in its early stage, characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.  

It's important to note that you can still develop gingivitis even if you brush and floss daily. Other possible causes include lifestyle habits such as excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.

Leaving gingivitis untreated leads to the disease's more severe form, called periodontitis. At this point, the gum tissue pulls away from the tooth, the alveolar bone deteriorates, and the teeth may loosen or fall out. Bad breath is a common symptom of gingivitis and periodontitis.

Your Blood Sugar Levels are High

Since diabetes can cause significant damage to your blood vessels,  it reduces blood flow throughout your body, including your gums. Gums and teeth that don’t get enough blood supply become prone to infection. Moreover, diabetes raises the blood sugar levels in your mouth, resulting in bacterial growth and bad breath.

You Have Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes a sore and scratchy throat. When the invading bacteria travels into your mouth from the back of your throat or through your nasal passages, they cause your breath to smell bad.

You Have Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)

GERD, or chronic acid reflux, is a medical condition that causes stomach contents such as stomach acids, regurgitated bile, and undigested food to flow back up into your esophagus and cause bad breath.

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