There are numerous causes for bad breath, including bad dental habits, but they can also be indicative of other health problems, and exacerbated by diet and lifestyle.
Foods with strong odors are digested by the body. These foods are eventually carried back to the lungs where their odors are exhaled eventually. Bad breath acquired this way is only gotten rid of when the food has passed through the body; mouthwash and brushing can only alleviate the smell temporarily.
Poor dental habits, such as infrequent brushing and flossing allow bacteria to grow in the mouth: between teeth, surrounding gums, and on the tongue. This can be counteracted by gargling antibacterial mouthwash.
Other health problems may also manifest as bad breath. Periodontal disease, a kind of gum disease caused by plaque buildup on the gums gives off a foul odor in one’s breath. Xerostomia, or dry breath, is a condition where not enough saliva is produced. Thus, the mouth is not cleansed of remaining food particles, and dead cells, resulting in bad breath.
Good oral hygiene is one of the easiest ways to prevent bad breath. Teeth should be brushed twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, or after every meal. Flossing also prevents buildup of food particles and plaque. Gargling mouthwash with peroxide can help keep your breath fresh during the day. Drinking lots of water helps prevent dry breath as well, and is thus an effective preventive measure too.
Remember to visit the dentist at least twice a year for both cleaning and an oral exam. Cavities and gum disease that can cause bad breath can be detected and remedied by the dentist to prevent bad breath. If you regularly visit your dentist, you will be able to maintain good oral health.
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net