How To Know If You Have Bad Breath
Signs and symptoms that will let you know if you have bad breath
It is important to know if you have bad breath. Figuring this out and then talking corrective steps to get rid of it can save or improve relationships, work relations, and more. It is very difficult for people to smell their own breath because a person becomes acclimated to their own breath, or in other words they get used to it so they don't notice it anymore. This article mainly deals with discovering if you have chronic (persistent, long term) bad breath but you can also use it to discover if you suffer from temporary halitosis.
- Know What Causes Bad Breath
- What are the symptoms of halitosis?
- How to smell your own breath
- How to get rid of bad breath
Know What Causes Bad Breath
In order to know if you have bad breath, it is a good idea to first know what causes bad breath. The following factors or conditions lead to bad breath. If you suspect you have one or more of these, you probably have bad breath.
Poor oral hygiene
Poor or not brushing, flossing, tongue scraping, using mouthwash. Essentially not mechanically removing food particles, dead cells, or other proteins from your mouth is poor oral hygiene. Over time, having poor oral hygiene exacerbates the problem of bad breath due to a build up of tartar, plaque, and can cause other medical conditions that help the bacteria population grow.
Dry Mouth (xerostomia)
May be caused by diet, medications, medical conditions, and other factors. A dry mouth is good for bacteria because there is less saliva in a dry mouth. Saliva has oxygen in it which kills anaerobic bacteria. A dry mouth is the main reason why it is common to suffer temporary halitosis in the morning (morning breath) because saliva circulation and production is reduced while sleeping. Learn more about dry mouth and how to get rid of it by reading our article on Dry Mouth (Xerostomia).
Sinus infections, throat infections, post nasal drip and allergies
These conditions usually cause an increased amount of mucus. Mucus contains large amounts of proteins that anaerobic bacteria feast upon, which in turn leads to bad breath. For sinus and throat infections, seek the help of qualified professionals. For chronic conditions such as allergies and post nasal drip, read our article on post nasal drip to learn what causes excess mucus and how to prevent it.
Tonsilloliths (tonsil stones)
Food particles and other matter can find themselves lodged into the crypts of the tonsils, where the become calcified and turn into tonsil stones. In a study in 2007, 75% of people who had tonsil stones also suffered from halitosis. To learn more about tonsil stones and how to remove them and prevent them from forming, check out our article on tonsil stones.
Oral infections such as tooth decay, cavities, wisdom tooth infections, and mouth lesions cause halitosis due to tissue breakdown, putrefaction of amino acids, and decreased saliva flow.
Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis can cause bad breath. These diseases cause bad breath because not only are dead cells (caused by the disease) metabolized by anaerobic bacteria, but also living tissues and bone are eaten away by the bacteria, producing large amounts of VOCs.
What are the symptoms of halitosis?
It is sometimes difficult to know if you have bad breath. Here are some other symptoms or associated conditions that might mean you have bad breath:
- Bad taste in your mouth: metallic sour or bitter
- Coated teeth
- Stained teeth: yellow or brown stains
- Mouth usually feels dry
- Tongue feels dry, has a white or yellow film on it
- Rhinitis (runny nose) or hay-fever
- Suffer from post nasal drip or chronic allergies
- Gums bleed or look swollen
- Partially erupted wisdom teeth
- Regular toothaches
- Teeth feel loose
- Tonsilloliths (tonsil stones)
- People seem to avoid direct contact with you and they step back from you when you are talking to them
- People around you offer mints or chewing gum
If you have one or several of these symptoms you may suffer from chronic halitosis. If you are in doubt, ask a person who you trust and are comfortable with if you have bad breath on a regular basis.
How to smell your own breath
It is often difficult to smell your own breath because people become acclimated to the smell of their own breath. Despite the difficulty of smelling your own breath, there are some tips and strategies that allow you to detect if it smells bad or not. You can read about these tips in our article on How to smell your own breath.
How to get rid of bad breath
Bad breath is caused by an overgrowth of bad breath producing anaerobic bacteria. In order to get rid of bad breath, one has to remove the factors that lead to an overgrowth of bacteria in the first place. The leading factor that leads to an overgrowth of bacteria is poor oral hygiene. Through proper oral hygiene one is able to remove the food source of the bacteria and make their mouths less hospitable to the bacteria. Consistent proper oral hygiene will reduce the population of anaerobic bacteria until they reach healthy low levels where bad breath is not a problem or detectable. The most important part of proper oral hygiene is the mechanical removal of proteins and other particles that the bacteria feed upon.
Read our informative article on How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath to learn more about how to treat bad breath.