Bad breath is something everyone deals with now and again, but some people battle chronic bad breath daily and it can take a toll on their confidence when dealing with other people. Chronic bad breath can cause a person to limit their contact with others, avoid intimate settings and appear aloof as they keep themselves at a safe distance from people at work and socially.
The good news is that there are things that can be done about chronic bad breath as the reasons for it have been studied and documented. The causes of bad breath in adults can be broken down into a few areas and each area will have a different course of action to correct the problem. Also be aware that a person may indeed have more than one cause for their bad breath so a multi-faceted approach may be needed.
The most common causes of bad breath in adults are bacteria. The bacteria are anaerobic which means they thrive in an atmosphere without oxygen. The mouth provides ideal conditions for this type of bacteria as it is warm and wet and generally closed or partially closed which means little oxygen is in there. Bacteria give off waste products as they grow and multiply and while there are many kinds of bacteria at work in the human mouth – when the ones with the worst smelling waste products win the battle for supremacy, the result is the top cause of bad breath. These bacteria particularly thrive in a mouth where plaque is prevalent and even a very small film of plaque can provide a perfect location for the bacteria to live and continue producing terrible smelling waste products.
Some foods lead to bad breath far more than others. For example, people who eat a high protein diet may be more susceptible to bad breath than those whose protein intake is minimal. High protein foods can provide the right conditions for certain bacteria to flourish and it is also thought that the digestion of proteins causes odours within the gastrointestinal tract that may be a cause of foul smelling breath.
Another common reason for bad breath (and a more difficult one to deal with) is disease. Diseases in the mouth (gum disease, periodontal disease, and decaying teeth) almost always result in bad breath. These conditions provide even more “food” for bacteria while also releasing unpleasant smells of decay and infection. Many of these diseases are caused by plaque, which we have already discussed as being a perfect place for bacteria to build up.
Diseases not within the mouth itself are causes of bad breath in adults as well. Respiratory diseases or illnesses such as sinusitis, bronchitis and acid reflux can cause foul smells to escape through a person’s mouth. People with diabetes and even kidney problems are often noted as having bad breath as well.
What to Do
While the causes of bad breath in adults are obviously multiple and can be complex, there are some very simple steps that can be taken to start identifying your own root cause and start finding a solution!
The best approach is to start by eliminating the easiest causes first and work your way up to the most difficult ones if the problem still persists.
The easiest and most inexpensive step you can take is to start focusing on your oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss more! Go back to the old rule of brushing after every meal and make sure you brush your tongue every time as well. While this is sometimes inconvenient, it can be very effective. Chew some sugar free gum in between brushing when you feel you may need a boost to clear away what is building up on your teeth.
Secondly, visit your dentist. Have them do an examination and determine if you have any plaque that should be cleaned away. Have them check for any signs of gum diseases or any other problems that are the causes of bad breath in adults
If oral hygiene and dental issues do not solve your problem, your next step is to address your diet. Are you eating a lot of protein? Do you snack on sugary foods that cause bad breath? Compare your diet to that of Canada’s Food Guide or the United States’ Food Pyramid just to be sure your intake is not unbalanced.
Next, if you still have bad breath that you cannot seem to control, is to visit your family doctor. Be honest about what your problem is and let them know what steps you’ve already taken to try to control it. Your doctor may want to run some tests to help determine if you are dealing with a physical condition that is commonly one of the causes of bad breath in adults. They will also be able to decide if you have a serious condition such as diabetes that will need ongoing treatment.
Fighting the causes of bad breath in adults can be an ongoing battle throughout the lives of many people. Don’t let your bad breath keep you from having a fulfilling intimate and social life! Get started right away and start identifying where your own problem exists and taking the steps needed to conquer it. Start with the easiest solutions and keep going if needed until you find your own personal cause or causes so that you can do something to eliminate them and get back to a normal life.