One of the conditions that can cause people to become self-conscious and socially awkward is bad breath, also known as halitosis. This is a rather common condition and happens to everyone. For various reasons, however, it can be more pronounced in some individuals.

Halitosis or bad breath originates from two unique causes. One is chronic halitosis, and the other is “morning breath”. The causative factor of both types is the same – sulfur.  Sulfurous gasses are produced by the bacterial build up in the mouth, in particular, the tongue. During sleep at night, our body’s production of saliva decreases substantially. When there is less saliva, the number of bacteria increase dramatically. Saliva serves an important function in the mouth related to bacterial load. Its primary role includes washing out bacteria from the oral cavity, participating in the phagocytosis of bacteria in the mouth and also inhibiting bacterial growth. Reduced saliva leads to a spike in bacteria. It is important to keep the mouth hydrated by taking sips of water.

Besides oral hygiene being the culprit, there can be other underlying phenomena. For example, bronchitis, or inflammation of the airway is known to trigger bad breath. The most common cause is a viral or bacterial infection, but could also be due to irritants such as air pollution, tobacco smoke, or certain chemicals.

Another cause might have to do with tonsil stones. They can cause itching and ache, plus they can cause your breath to produce an odor. This is largely due to bacteria harbored at that site.

Systemic diseases such as fetor hepatitis may cause bad breath. Besides that, Trimethylaminuria (“fish odor syndrome”) is another source that can cause bad breath. However, it is worth noting that patients afflicted by the said conditions will show more diagnostically certain symptoms than mere bad breath.

Last but not least, in some cases, gastrointestinal conditions can also cause bad breath.  For example, bacterial infection on the stomach lining can cause bad breath. Also, acid reflux or the regurgitation of stomach contents can cause a bitter or sour taste in your mouth as well.

Bad breath is preventable simply by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Brushing your teeth properly is one way to fight against bad breath. Besides that, using a tongue cleaner or scraper is effective because it helps prevent a coated tongue. Also, use an oral rinse to neutralize sulfur-producing bacteria.

In conclusion, bad breath is a condition that is preventable and curable. If the problem persists after oral hygiene efforts, do consult your dentist or medical doctor to rule out any underlying issues.