Are people constantly offering you mints or turn away with a grimace when you talk too closely? Has that first kiss ever been a miss due to those "sweet nothings" smelling a bit too sour? Cup your hands over your mouth and nose and take a deep breath. If you're ready to pass out from the odor, you've got bad breath, AKA halitosis.
But there's no need to zip your lips for good. You can overcome your breath battle by perusing the reasons for the stench below. With some tweaks to your lifestyle, your breath can become fresher and you'll smile with confidence. Take a deep breath and see what may be causing your death breath.
1. You're Thirsty
If you're not drinking enough water, you're bound to have bad breath. As per Reader's Digest, "Not drinking enough water means food (and the bacteria that feed on it) hangs out in your mouth longer, breeding and heightening the stench."
Your parched mouth will only get smellier the drier it gets, so be sure to drink up. Sip on water throughout the day to ensure your mouth stays moist and the bacteria gets washed away with every swig.
2. You're Sick
Various illnesses can cause your breath to smell worse than usual. Infections, sores, ulcers, and bacteria can make their way towards your mouth making you not only feel bad but will have you smelling rotten too.
For example, as per Health, "Strep is a bacterial infection, not a viral one, and those invading bugs can cause your bad breath to smell bad. Other kinds of sinus infections can turn into bacterial ones that produce a smelly, pus-like type of mucus. Reflux disease can cause bad breath as well when the stomach contents leak back up into the esophagus, causing an unpleasant odor.
And the type of smell caused by gasses may be associated with a particular ailment. Reader's Digest notes, "For instance, excess methylamine may signal liver and kidney disease, ammonia may be a sign of renal failure, elevated acetone levels can indicate diabetes, and nitric oxide levels can be used to diagnose asthma, according to the scientists. A separate study found that a certain mix of bad breath gasses can even indicate malignant throat cancer."
If you have a new sort of breath fragrance, consult your doctor to be sure you are OK.
3. You Ate Something Funky
Some of the best smelling and tasting foods area delight on the way in, but leave you with less-than-stellar breath post-consumption. Keep a mint or a spare toothbrush on hand if you want to follow up your odiferous meal with intimate conversation.
Colgate notes coffee as a big offender. "Caffeinated beverages can cause dry mouth; according to the Mayo Clinic, dry mouth produces bad breath by allowing bacteria to survive without the saliva washing it away."
Health adds, "Garlic and onions are two famous offenders, but other culprits include spices, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and radishes."
Definitely enjoy your food but don't be surprised when it repeats on you hours later!
4. You're Hungry
Not eating can cause bad breath as well. Just like not drinking enough, when you haven't eaten in a while, less saliva is produced allowing bacteria to fester. Eat small meals or snacks throughout the day to ensure you not only keep energized, but you have decent breath. No diet is worth a mad case of halitosis!
5. You're On Medication
If you've seen the commercials for nearly any medication, you've surely heard the running list of adverse effects some people may have from taking their pills. One of which can be dry mouth which inevitably leads to bad breath.
According to Health, "Certain meds—like some antihistamines, diuretics, antipsychotics, and muscle relaxants—can cause side effects that include dry mouth. And that, in turn, can reduce the amount of saliva your mouth produces and how much bacteria will continue to camp out there."
While discontinuing taking your medication may not be an option, being super vigilant about your oral situation can keep your breath fresh. Brush regularly and be sure to scrape your tongue as well.
6. You Have Poor Dental Hygiene
While this one is pretty obvious, not taking care of your oral health will surely lead to bad breath. Brush and floss regularly and use a mouthwash as well. Visit your dentist for regular checkups to be sure your teeth and gums are in good condition.
Protecting yourself from cavities will ensure better breath too. As per Health, "A buildup of plaque can erode your teeth, leaving you with cavities. And while poor oral hygiene certainly contributes to bad breath, those holes may also trigger halitosis indirectly, too: food can get caught in the cavities."
Pearly whites sure are nice, but fresh breath to go with 'em is a mouthful!