Everyone gets bad breath occasionally. Forgetting to brush your teeth, getting an oral infection or consuming a garlicky meal can all lead to temporary bad breath. However, for some people, bad breath is a daily struggle. If your breath always smells, it could be caused by one or more of these three factors.
If you use tobacco, your habit may be the cause of your chronic bad breath. This type of bad breath is colloquially known as "smoker's breath," and it's caused by the chemicals that get left behind in your mouth after you smoke a cigarette. Your cigarettes also leave tar and nicotine in your mouth. The combination of chemicals, tar and nicotine causes the lingering bad breath that your family and friends complain about.
Methods like mints, sugar-free gum and drinking more water can help mask your bad breath, but the only way to solve smoker's breath for good is to stop smoking. Your dentist can help you find resources for smoking cessation, and depending on their training, they may even be able to prescribe smoking cessation medications.
If you can't—or don't want to— quit smoking, cutting back is the next best thing. Lessening the number of cigarettes you smoke will help to reduce your bad breath, so try to cut back over time.
Dry Mouth Syndrome
Dry mouth syndrome means that your mouth is drier than it should be. This occurs when your salivary glands aren't producing the required amount of saliva due to medications, aging, nerve damage or a variety of other problems.
Why does not having enough saliva make your mouth smell terrible? Saliva doesn't just moisten your mouth. It also helps to wash away the things that can make your mouth smell bad, like the food particles that stick to your teeth after a meal. If these food particles don't get washed away, they'll break down and start to smell.
To get your bad breath under control, your dentist may recommend moistening your mouth with home remedies like drinking more water or chewing sugar-free gum. Over-the-counter products like mouth rinses and moisturizers can also help to moisten your mouth and replace missing saliva. If necessary, medications are available that stimulate your salivary glands and help you produce more saliva.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as acid reflux, is a very common condition. As many as 40% of Americans will suffer from it at some point in their lives, and as many as 10% suffer from it every day. You probably already know that this disease causes heartburn, but surprisingly, it's also a cause of chronic bad breath.
When you have acid reflux, acids from your stomach back up into your esophagus and mouth. The presence of these acids can contribute to your chronic bad breath. This happens because the acids damage your tissues and let bacteria start to grow; this bacterial growth can cause a bad smell.
Acid reflux should be treated by your family doctor, but your dentist also needs to be involved. This is because the acids don't just make your breath smell terrible; they also eat away at your tooth enamel. If you're diagnosed with acid reflux, make sure to see your dentist to get your teeth examined.
If your breath always smells bad, see your dentist to find out what's going on. It's not normal to have bad breath all the time, so a factor like tobacco use, dry mouth syndrome or gastroesophageal reflux disease could be to blame. Once the underlying cause has been dealt with, you won't need to worry about constant bad breath any more. Contact a dentist at an office like Arrowhead Family Dentistry S. M. Bhatt DDS Inc. for more information.