Why do I have bad breath?

Having bad breath or ‘halitosis' can be an embarrassing and frustrating issue to deal with. We all at some point in time have experienced our own bad breath, or someone else's. Sometimes no matter how much we brush, floss or rinse we cannot escape that lingering odour, or metallic taste. So, what are the most common causes of bad breath, and how do we deal with them?

Oral infections are a major source of foul odours. They can be deep inside the jaw bone around the root or more superficial around the gum line. They can sometimes drain pus into the mouth, and enter the bloodstream circulating to vital organs like the heart. These infections can actually affect a person's ability to properly control their blood sugar levels as well.

Old fillings with poor seals around the teeth and decay around the fillings can also affect bad breath. If there are rough areas around older fillings bacteria will start to reside there in larger numbers. These bacteria will eventually be the reason decay develops around these fillings. The gases they produce as a byproduct are very foul smelling. So the more old fillings, and the more decay present, the higher the likelihood you will have bad breath.

Other sources for bad breath include having a dry mouth, gases coming from the stomach, a diet high in sulfur containing foods i.e.) onion, garlic. Not brushing the tongue, and food stuck between teeth are two more common reasons bad breath exists. Certain medical conditions and medications can contribute to halitosis as well.

If you suspect you have a bad taste coming from your mouth, or just bad breath it would be a good idea to ask your dentist to examine your mouth for the potential causes. Some of the causes can be dealt with by brushing and flossing your teeth and tongue more regularly. Some of the causes may mean replacing old fillings. Certain infections may require antibiotics as well as root canals or extractions of teeth. Whatever the cause, it is important to rule out specific ones that can potentially have more serious systemic health risks.