Can bad breath be caused by something other than oral hygiene?

Although poor oral hygiene or an overgrowth of natural bacteria in the mouth is the main cause of bad breath, it isn’t the only cause. Several other conditions can be linked to having less desirable breath. Let’s touch on a few things that could be causing your partner or friends to complain about your breath!

If you are experiencing bad breath, then improving your at-home-oral-hygiene regime is never a bad idea. However, if even after switching or improving your regime, you are finding that the bad breath problem is not going away, here are a few other things to look for:
A leading cause of yucky breath is being sick or experiencing post nasal drip on regular basis. With the sinus draining into the oral cavity through the oropharynx, this can cause a breeding ground of bacteria. Overtime, the bacteria can even accumulate into very smelly greyish-yellow balls of food debris, dead cells, and bacteria from the mouth called tonsil stones. These stones often lay in the open crevasses of the tonsils and often go undetected until a light is shone on the back of the throat or viewed during a clinical exam. If you do notice that these tiny balls are present in the back of your throat, first have your tonsils examined by a medical professional. If they are cleared as not being harmful, then some tips to help prevent these stones are as follows: improving oral hygiene, brushing the very back of the tongue, gargling with salt, and quitting smoking if you are a smoker.
Stomach issues can also be a leading cause of bad breath. People who suffer from chronic acid reflux may notice issues with chronic bad breath as well. This is due to the bacteria from your stomach and gut being washed up in the esophagus and can easily be rinsed away with gargling warm salt water. Often, patients are unaware that they are suffering from chronic reflux. However, acid erosion of the teeth is one of the first signs noted clinically.

If you feel that you may be suffering from bad breath and cannot seem to figure out why, first see your dental health professional to rule out an on-going gum and bone disease, signs of acid erosion, or chronically inflamed tonsils. If either of these ailments are found, your dental health professional can refer you to the appropriate doctor or specialist if it is outside the scope of their practice.

-Zoe
Braeside Dental Centre
Can bad breath be caused by something other than oral hygiene?

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