Nothing is more embarrassing than a friend, coworker, spouse or even a complete stranger politely pulling you aside and uttering four words: You have bad breath. You brush and floss your teeth, implants or porcelain veneers daily and make sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year, but still cannot seem to beat this common oral health issue. When it comes to pinpointing the cause of bad breath, you might be surprised to learn about these common, and easily remedied, culprits:
A Nasty Cold or Respiratory Infection
From the aching muscles to a nasty cough and sore throat, having a cold, the flu or any other number of upper respiratory infections can wreak havoc on your immune system and mood. However, in addition to feeling awful, many of these infections could be the reason you're struggling with bad breath.
According to Medicine Net, many of the causes of bad breath are associated with upper respiratory infections, including postnasal drip and a persistent cough. When the body is fighting a cold, it produces copious amounts of bacteria-containing mucus expelled through your mouth, along with an unpleasant odor.
In addition, a cold, the flu or other upper respiratory infections can also lead to dry mouth, which is another common cause of unpleasant breath.
If you're dealing with a nasty infection or seasonal allergies, the easiest way to freshen your breath is with mouthwash. However, if the issue is dry mouth, there is an even simpler solution: chew sugarless gum.
In addition to freshening your breath, the gum will help you produce more saliva, which in turn will put an end to your bad breath.
Whether you were diagnosed with acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease or simply have chronic heartburn, all that excess stomach acid making its way into your mouth is another surprisingly common cause of bad breath.
In addition to causing bad breath, GERD can also lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, chronic sore throats and mouth irritation.
If you're experiencing bad breath and suspect GERD is the culprit, go ahead and visit your dentist. Not only can the dentist determine if there is a connection between your acid reflux and bad breath, they can also recommend a few simple remedies.
According to Everyday Health, in addition to chewing sugarless gum – which once again stimulates saliva production – there are other ways to control your acid reflux and bad breath. For example, if you suffer from acid reflux after eating spicy foods, avoiding jalapeno peppers and buffalo chicken wings can help control the problem.
All Protein and No Carbs
Skipping carbohydrates in favor of eating a diet that is rich in protein is good for your health, and waistline. However, sticking to a strict low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet can be the reason why you're struggling with bad breath.
When your body attempts to digest several foods that contain large amounts of protein, such as fish, it is tasked with getting rid of several unpleasant substances, including ammonia and ketones – an acid that emits a odor akin to rotting fruit.
Unfortunately, switching toothpastes or purchasing expensive mouth washes isn't enough to eliminate this issue. Instead, speak to your physician about altering your diet, which includes adding a few carbohydrate-rich foods, such as breads, pastas and whole grains, back into your eating plan.
From skipping your carbohydrate-rich dinner roll in favor of a protein-laden treat to seasonal allergies, there are many surprising causes of bad breath. If you can't seem to get a handle on your own bad breath issues, the best person to consult is your dentist, who can help you devise a plan to get your breath smelling sweet again!