5 Unexpected Culprits of Bad Breath (That You Can Treat)

Bad breath can sour a first impression or spoil a special moment. Not surprisingly, social rejection and exclusion have been a byproduct of malodorous respiration for centuries. Those around you can easily recognize off-smelling odors emanating from the mouth, but self-detecting a case of bad breath is much more challenging. Take notice if people tend to lean away during intimate conversations or if they discreetly cover their noise when you give a breathy laugh.

While the solution to bad breath may appear obvious, often, the tastes and smells associated with halitosis aren’t treatable by rigorously brushing your teeth or popping a few breath mints between meals. Although practicing dental hygiene certainly improves bad breath symptoms, organ malfunction and underlying health conditions may also be factors at play.

The costs of living with untreated halitosis can be severe, ranging from social expulsion to psychological agony. Bad breath can also have a detrimental impact on your professional life, especially in the sales industry, where making a positive connection with customers is essential.

The best way to address a case of bad breath is to take preventative measures long before your coworker awkwardly alludes to your borderline repulsive breath. Experts at Canyon Crest Dental, a dentist in Lehi, report that managing your bad breath can be as simple as taking the following precautions:

  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Avoid sugary foods
  • Schedule regular appointments with your dentist.

Before you scour the internet for practical solutions to bad breath, it’s helpful to identify the cause of your specific circumstance. By considering these five unexpected culprits of bad breath, you’ll take one step closer to a better-fragranced future.

Dry mouth

Saliva is the first line of defense against bad breath. Unbeknownst to most brushers and flossers, its natural function is to clear away bacteria. That said, low saliva production can lead to first-date-spoiling side effects like sour breath and chapped lips.

Dry mouth is often the result of alcohol consumption, smoking, or breathing through the mouth. Stress and anxiety can also cause your mouth to become unpleasantly dehydrated. Even some medications cause dry mouth, such as antihistamines and lung inhalers.

Tonsil stones

Trapped food particles or calcified debris can buildup in the back of the mouth and become stuck. While they pose no threat to your overall health, they can produce a rancid odor in the mouth cavity. Those who have not removed their tonsils are more likely to develop tonsil stones. In most cases, these stones can be expelled by toothbrushes or cotton swabs, although ENT intervention may be necessary.

The Ketogenic diet

Cutting your carb intake may be the cause of bad breath. Also known as “keto breath,” this smelly side-effect is the reaction of your body converting fatty acids into a chemical known as ketones. The smell has been related to that of decaying fruit and even nail polish remover. Despite its malodorous traits, many interpret these unpleasant odors as a sign their body has officially reached a state of ketosis.

Medical problems

Bad breath can be an indication of a severe health concern. Gum cancer and kidney failure can cause your breath to smell of ammonia or urine. Diabetes creates high glucose levels in saliva and a buildup of the ketones mentioned above, both of which result in halitosis. If you are experiencing an extended and severe case of bad breath, consult your doctor to rule out any threatening medical issues.

Certain foods

Pungent foods like garlic and onions are well-known culprits of bad breath, although their halitosis effects are only temporary. Foods that are high in protein and sugar feed bacteria living in your mouth, creating a welcoming environment for stench-producing organisms.

Last word

Bad breath can have lasting social and psychological consequences. Whether it’s a low-carb diet or irritating tonsil stones, identifying the root cause of your halitosis can allow you to find the solution best suited to your unique circumstances.