Bad breath, also known as halitosis or oral odor, is a common and treatable condition in many adults. It is usually caused by poor dental hygiene, but can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Allergies, runny nose, gum disease, dry mouth, and certain medications can all cause bad breath. A diet high in sugar can also contribute to the problem.
Gum disease is one of the most common causes of bad breath. The main symptom of this condition is an unpleasant smell from the mouth that is considered to be beyond a socially acceptable level. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to other oral health conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease, which are associated with bad breath. Allergies and runny nose can also cause bad breath.
Nasal congestion can force you to breathe through your mouth, which can lead to dryness and the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath. Certain medications can also release chemicals that are carried through the bloodstream to breathing, causing bad breath. A diet high in sugar can cause bad breath because of the way that sugars interact with existing bacteria in the mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, a salivary gland disorder, or by always breathing through the mouth instead of through the nose.Because it's difficult to assess how your own breath smells, it's important to ask a close friend or family member to confirm your questions about bad breath.
If you suspect that you have bad breath, it's important to see an oral health professional for diagnosis and treatment.