More than 90 million people suffer from chronic halitosis or bad breath. In most cases, it originates from the gums and tongue. The odor is caused by bacteria from decaying food particles, other debris in your mouth, and poor oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor.
Bad breath also may occur in people who have gastrointestinal conditions, periodontal disease, diabetes, kidney failure, liver malfunction, xerostomia (dry mouth) and the use of tobacco . Stress, snoring, age and even hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath but more often, our diet is the culprit. Very spicy foods, onions, garlic and coffee may be detected on a person’s breath for up to 72 hours after digestion because onions, for example, are absorbed by the stomach and the odor is then excreted through the lungs. Studies have shown that garlic rubbed on the soles of the feet can show up on a person’s breath. If your diet is the cause of your bad breath, all you have to do is modify your diet. Otherwise, visit your dentist regularly because checkups will help detect any physical problems. Checkups also help get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. If you think that you suffer from bad breath, your dentist can help determine its source. We may ask you to schedule a separate appointment to find the source of the odor. Or, if your dentist believes that the problem is caused from a systemic source (internal), such as an infection, she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem