Description: Although there may be a number of causes, most of the time, bad breath, also called halitosis, originates in the mouth. It is usually caused by oral bacteria breaking down food debris and the resultant decay. This process creates byproducts called volatile sulfur compounds, which emit a smell similar to rotten eggs. The type of bacteria that initiates this process needs an environment that is low in oxygen, so they usually inhabit areas that are difficult to reach, such as the pockets around teeth and the fissures of the tongue. Other debris in your mouth and poor oral hygiene can also cause periodontal disease.
Solutions: If you have bad breath, you should make sure to obtain a complete dental examination that includes a periodontal examination. Keeping your mouth as clean as possible helps reduce the bacteria that can cause bad breath. In reducing bacteria and food debris, it is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. Also to alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help control odors. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or mouthguard, make sure that you clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouth rinses, deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with your dentist because these products only mask the odor temporarily, and some products may actually make the problem worse.