Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is a condition that involves foul-smelling odors present in exhaled breath. Halitosis has many causes and they are as follows:
* Bacteria in the mouth
Bacteria in the mouth is the most common cause of bad breath. They are often located on the back of the tongue and below the gumline. The foul odors are produced when protein is broken down into amino acids. The tongue accounts for majority of bad breath cases as bacteria that exists at the back of the tongue are relatively undisturbed by activity in the mouth. The absence of distrurbance combined with the irregular surface of the tongue and film of coating comprised of food debris, dead epithelial cells and mucus provides an ideal habitat for bacteria to thrive and release odors. Besides the tongue, crevices in the gum creates pockets for bacteria to tunnel in. Waste products produced by these bacteria release foul odors.
Smoking causes bad breath by leaving smoke particles as residule in the mouth and lungs. These particles linger in the breath and result in an unpleasant smell. Smoking also dries out the palate and this promotes bacteria growth as there is less saliva to rinse away the bacteria.
* Food in the mouth
Food can get stuck the space between teeth and this is known as interdental food packing. When food debris is trapped in the interdental space, it undergoes bacterial putrefaction and releases foul odors.
* Plastic false teeth
If the dentures are not properly cleaned or removed regularly, malodor may develop. This arises from bacteria growing on the surface of the plastic which causes foul smells.