Many of us are embarrassed with the bad breath produced in our mouth. It might not be what you ate. Get the lowdown on unexpected things that can cause stinky breath, like a hangover.
Bacteria on the tongue is the leading cause of bad breath. Clean yours with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Scrapers will do a slightly better job. Avoid brittle plastic ones, which could snap, as well as metal ones, which can be sharp.
A low-carb diet
When you cut out carbs and boost the amount of protein you eat, your body starts burning fat for energy. That process makes compounds called ketones, which cause bad breath. In this case, better dental hygiene would not solve the problem, since that is not the root cause. Your best bet is to mask your breath with sugar-free gum.
The common cold
As if they were not annoying enough, respiratory tract infections like colds and bronchitis can also give you bad breath. That is because odour-causing bacteria like to feed on mucus). And if you have a stuffy nose, you are more likely to resort to mouth-breathing, which can dry out your mouth.
The ulcer itself may not be the problem. But a type of bacteria that causes ulcers, Helicobacter pylori, can also trigger bad breath. Treating the bacteria may get rid of the stink. Your doctor can test you for H. pylori and prescribe antibiotics for it.
More than 400 prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including antidepressants and allergy remedies, can stifle saliva flow. This fluid helps wash away food and bacteria, keeping bad breath at bay. Changing your meds is not always an option, so the American Dental Association recommends staying hydrated and chewing sugarless gum to keep the mouth moist. Special oral rinses can also help.
These small whitish clusters - made up of hardened bacteria, food particles, dead cells, and mucus - get trapped in the ridges of your tonsils and the back of your tongue. They are generally harmless except for the smell. They will often dislodge on their own, but you can sometimes speed the process by gargling with salt water. Your dentist may have other options for you.
It is very high in sugar, and odour-causing bacteria love to feed on the stuff. A reasonable 1/4 cup of raisins has 21 grams of sugar; the same amount of dried apricots has 17 grams. That is like eating 4-5 teaspoons of pure sugar. Plus, dried fruit is sticky, so it can get trapped on and between your teeth. After a snack, be sure to floss and brush.
Acid reflux or heartburn
These are two symptoms of GERD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), a common digestive disorder. Your bad breath may be from some undigested food coming back up, or it could be that irritation from stomach acid is giving you postnasal drip. Ask your doctor for help if you get heartburn often.
Cracked teeth and fillings
These can trap food particles and breed bacteria, resulting in cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Ill-fitting dentures can cause the same problems.