Complete guide: understanding and eliminating bad breath

The hidden causes of bad breath

Foods that worsen breath

Coffee and alcohol are two other elements that can cause bad breath. Coffee, due to its acidic nature and its ability to decrease saliva production, promotes a dry mouth environment conducive to the bacteria responsible for halitosis. Similarly, alcohol dehydrates the body and reduces saliva production, worsening the problem.

Halitosis, or bad breath, is defined as a set of unpleasant odors emanating from the mouth.

Oral infections: a hidden enemy

Oral infections are a major cause of bad breath. Bacteria responsible for gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, or periodontitis, its more advanced form affecting the tissues supporting the teeth, produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) which are the main culprits of the unpleasant odor.

Poor oral hygiene promotes the accumulation of bacterial plaque, which is a breeding ground for infections. Interdental spaces and periodontal pockets, when not properly cleaned, become ideal zones for bacterial proliferation.

Facteur de risqueImpact sur la mauvaise haleine
Mauvaise hygiène bucco-dentaireAccumulation de plaque dentaire et de résidus alimentaires, favorisant la prolifération bactérienne.
Consommation de tabacDéshydratation de la bouche et dépôt de composés odorants sur les tissus buccaux.
Aliments spécifiques (ail, oignon, épices)Libération de composés volatils dans l'haleine après digestion.
Sécheresse buccale (xérostomie)Réduction du flux salivaire, diminuant la capacité de la bouche à s'auto-nettoyer.
Maladies systémiques (diabète, reflux gastro-œsophagien)Production de composés odorants par l'organisme ou reflux de contenu gastrique.
Problèmes dentaires (gingivite, parodontite)Infections et inflammation des gencives, menant à la libération de composés sulfurés.
Consommation de médicamentsCertains médicaments peuvent provoquer une sécheresse buccale et contribuer à la mauvaise haleine.
Mauvais lavage des prothèses dentairesLes prothèses dentaires mal nettoyées peuvent accumuler des bactéries et provoquer une mauvaise haleine.

The impact of stress on bad breath

Hormonal fluctuations can also alter appetite and eating habits, sometimes leading to increased consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, known to dry out the mouth. Moreover, stressed individuals may neglect their oral hygiene, exacerbating existing problems and creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth.

Daily habits for fresh breath

Besides oral care, hydration plays a key role. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps maintain adequate saliva production, which has a natural cleansing action in the mouth. Avoiding excessive consumption of tobacco, coffee, sugary drinks, and alcohol can also help prevent bad breath.

Finally, adopting a balanced diet rich in crunchy fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, can effectively remove residues.

Hydratation contre mauvaise haleine
Hydration plays a key role against halitosis.

Common myths about bad breath

Myth 1: mouthwash permanently eliminates bad breath.

The oral microbiome is a complex ecosystem of beneficial bacteria that play a crucial role in oral health. These bacteria help prevent infections, maintain pH balance, and protect teeth and gums. Frequent use of antiseptic mouthwashes can disrupt this delicate balance by eliminating not only harmful bacteria but also beneficial ones. This disruption can lead to a proliferation of pathogenic bacteria, responsible for various oral health issues, including bad breath, cavities, and periodontal diseases. It is therefore crucial to choose a suitable mouthwash and use it in moderation. Mouthwashes containing natural ingredients like peppermint oil, green tea, or aloe vera can offer a gentler, microbiome-friendly alternative.

Myth 2: halitosis is always noticeable to the person suffering from it.

Ironically, those suffering from chronic halitosis are often the last to notice it. Receptors in the nose can become accustomed to the odor, making it less perceptible. This is why external opinions, such as those from friends, family, or healthcare professionals, are crucial for an accurate diagnosis.

Myth 3: bad breath is always related to poor oral hygiene.

It is false to believe that bad breath is always linked to poor oral hygiene. Medical conditions like diabetes, sinus infections, or kidney disease can also cause unpleasant breath.

Innovations in oral hygiene

Lozenges and chewing gums enriched with xylitol and antibacterial agents provide a practical solution for combating bad breath while promoting saliva production, essential for preventing dry mouth, an aggravating factor of halitosis.

When to see a dentist for bad breath?

Despite brushing and flossing, persistent halitosis can indicate deeper issues like oral infections, periodontal diseases, or defective fillings.

Consult a dentist if bleeding gums or pain accompany bad breath. These symptoms can signal gingivitis or periodontitis, requiring intensive treatment. Early diagnosis prevents serious complications.

If bad breath is linked to systemic disorders like diabetes, kidney disease, or gastrointestinal issues, a multidisciplinary approach is essential. Collaboration between dentists and other healthcare professionals ensures comprehensive management of the underlying disease.

Finally, see your dentist regularly, every six months, to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent bad breath. Our clinic offers specialized treatments like scaling and polishing, as well as personalized advice to ensure fresh and healthy breath!

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