Georgetown Health Care Center
For 50 to 90 percent of persons with bad breath, the cause can be attributed to problems originating in the mouth. Factors that negatively affect the creath include sleep, the use of mouth appliances, age, hunger, tabacco use, and certain foods and medications.
Morning breath. While you sleep, the flow of saliva stops almost completely. Because saliva flow cleanses the mouth by decreasing the growth of certain bacteria, sleep allows these bacteria to grow, and odorous gases are produced. Any saliva that remains in the mouth during sleep stagnates and contributes to halitosis.
Mouth appliances. Food debris can accumulate on appliances worn in the mouth, such as dentures, removable bridges, and partial plates. It is important to remove and clean these at least once daily or as directed by a dentist.
Age. While the breath of infants and children is typically pleasant, it becomes progressively more unpleasant with age. The breath of elderly persons tends to be more disagreeable than those younger, regardless of oral hygiene.
Food. The metabolites of certain foods, such as onion, garlic, pastrami, and alcohol, are absorbed into the circulatory system and excreted through the lungs. Meat eaters are more likely to have bad breath than are vegetarians since the lungs excrete byproducts of proteins and fats that cause bad breath.
Medications. Some medications that cause the mouth to become dry can cause bad breath. Potential problem drugs include amphetamines, antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics, and some medications used to treat hypertension, pain, and anxiety.
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