How Your Oral Health Affects Your Breath

Have you ever noticed how bad your breath smells just as you wake up in the morning? What about after eating that garlic bread you had at dinner?

What if you have bad breath all the time?

It can be embarrassing living with chronic bad breath. Intimate social interactions are dreaded and the unpleasant diet limitations can make it difficult living a normal, healthy life.

Why does your breath smell bad?

The Cause of Bad Breath

What exactly causes bad breath? The causes of bad breath can stem from easily treatable at-home dental hygiene practices to the more severe such as the presence of a potentially severe health condition such as cancer.

The most common causes of bad breath include:

The use of tobacco. The chemicals in tobacco products naturally produce their own odors. Tobacco products have also been shown to cause gum disease, which causes bad breath.

Dislodged food particles and certain digested foods. When food particles lodged between teeth and you don’t brush, floss or rinse out your mouth, they can breakdown and decay, causing bad breath and possible tooth decay. Some potent foods such as onions and garlic can enter the bloodstream that goes to the lungs after they are digested. The odorous onion or garlic compounds in the lung bloodstream can manifest itself as bad breath.

Chronic dry mouth. It is natural to have a dry mouth when you first wake up in the morning or after a long nap. It isn’t normal, however, to have a dry mouth all day long. You may not have noticed, but the drier your mouth is, the smellier it will be. This is why your breath smells the worst when you first get out of bed.

What is the connection between a dry mouth and bad breath? It has to do with saliva. Saliva is our mouth’s natural cleaner. It constantly rinses the plaque, germs and bacteria that coat your teeth, gums and tongue. When little or no saliva is present (as is the case of dry mouth), the gunk coating your teeth begins to decompose, emitting unpleasant odors. The culmination of these odors is bad breath.

Fad or crash diets. You’ve probably heard of the Atkin’s Diet or South Beach Diet. While these may promise a better-looking and feeling body, they can wreak havoc on the saliva production in your mouth as well as introduce overly potent fat chemicals called ketones which give off a strong smell once they are broken down.  

Medications. As with crash diets, some medications may reduce or hinder the production of saliva, creating dry mouth.

Health conditions of the mouth, nose and throat.  Bacterial infections of the mouth, nose or throat can produce a foul odor. Inflammation or infections of the mouth, nose or throat can also lead to dry mouth.

Diseases. Diseases affecting other areas or organs of the body can produce certain chemicals that can alter the production of saliva. Acid reflux and vomiting can produce bad breath due to the bringing forth of stomach acids.

Bad Breath and Oral Hygiene

The most preventable cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. The longer food particles stay in your mouth, the more plaque build-up there will be. The abundant plaque on and between the teeth will produce a more potent odor.

There is also emerging evidence between the connection of one’s dental health and one’s overall health. The mouth and the rest of the body are connected. As mentioned above, certain diseases in other parts of the body can produce smelly odors that come out of the mouth and they can also decrease the production of saliva which gives plaque a greater chance to decompose and emit smelly acids.

Proper dental hygiene will reduce the amount of food particles stuck between teeth as well as work with saliva to brush off any germs or plaque on the surface of teeth. When less germs and plaque is in the mouth, the less smelly odors are emitted.

Proper dental hygiene also cuts down on bad breath by reducing the risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease can significantly decrease the amount of saliva production, which can lead to dry mouth and smelly breath.

Bad breath can be the cause of many different things, but bad breath caused by the lack of or improper dental hygiene is the most preventable.

The decay of food particles in the mouth due to inadequate dental care is the connection between oral health and bad breath.

If you practice good dental hygiene, but regularly have a dry mouth, contact our dental office in Madison, Wisconsin to schedule an appointment.

At Madison Smiles Solutions, we care about the dental health and well-being of each patient and know that chronic dry mouth leads to bad breath and an increase risk for cavities and gum disease.