Have you ever wondered why your breath still stinks despite your regular oral hygiene? You brush, floss and even mouthwash a few times a day. You take all the necessary precautions before going out on a date— avoid eating garlic bread and you chew gum to have a minty breath. But most of us end up getting bad breath soon or later and we have no idea why!
Chances are your oral hygiene has little to do with bad breath, says Harold Katz, DDS, a dentist, bacteriologist, and founder of the California Breath Clinics. Instead, he identifies a dry mouth as the chronic cause to bad breath.
The saliva in our mouth is known for its anti-bacterial properties which protects us from bad breath. However, when we sleep, the saliva levels in our mouth drop to low levels which results in the disgusting odor.
Solved through brushing
If morning breath is the only issue, it can be easily solved through brushing. When we wake up, our saliva levels return to their normal levels which ensure an odor-free mouth. But for many people, the bad odor lingers on due to the use of medication.
Katz explains that approximately seventy-five percent of prescription drugs like antidepressants, antihistamines, and blood pressure medication result in a dry mouth as a side effect.
So if that seems to be the problem making your friends avoids close contact, then you should increase your water intake or ask your doctor to give you an alternative medication.
Chronic bad breath
Chronic bad breath is also a signal to an imbalance in your body. This odor can be a useful clue for doctors to identify what is wrong.
If your mouth smells like mothballs, it might be a signal for an on-coming allergy or a sinus attack. In chronic sinus, the bacteria inside your mouth have the ability to convert mucus protein into skatole. Using anti-allergy medication, or anti-biotic can help relieve you from allergy and sinus alike. But again, beware of the dry mouth syndrome!
If your breath is fruity then you might be diabetic. When sugar is not used in the cells as energy, blood sugar levels rise and your cells start using fat to generate energy. The by-product of the fat-burn process is ketones which can result in a fruity breath, says DrShilpi Agarwal, a family doctor and medicine physician in Washington DC.
If your breath smells like sour milk then it might be because you are lactose intolerant. According to Dr. Katz it indicates that your body’s inability to break down dairy proteins. It can also be accompanied with cramps and gas.
If it smells like a dirty diaper then it is likely due to a tonsil stone. Debris and bacteria can form a visible stone in the crevices in the tonsils. The smell can be avoided by removing the particle using cotton swabs by your primary care doctor.
If it smells like something is rotting, then it might indicate a lung disease ranging from pneumonia to cancer. Breath tests designed to help in identification of cancer are currently underway.
So if you suspect a lung problem then you might want to consult your doctor.