How Bad Is Bad Breath? It’s Baaaaaad
There’s an old saying that nothing is certain in life but death and taxes. But add one more thing to the list — bad breath. Just about everyone has had it.
“At least 50% of the adult population has bad breath at one point or another, and just about everyone has it in the morning,”says Andrew Spielman, DMD, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of basic science and craniofacial biology at the NYU College of Dentistry.
Recommended Related to Oral Health
Want a brighter smile? When it comes to tooth-whitening, you’ve got two options: in-office-based teeth bleaching, or at-home care. Both tooth-whitening options use peroxide-based bleaching agents. At-home systems contain from 3% to 20% peroxide (carbamide or hydrogen peroxides). In-office systems contain from 15% to 43% peroxide. Generally, the longer you keep a stronger solution on your teeth, the whiter your teeth become. However, the higher the percentage of peroxide in the whitening solution,…
According to Spielman, 90% of bad breath is caused by bacteria, which break down food and salivary proteins in the mouth and, in the process, “release odorous compounds.” Bacteria hide out on the tongue, which works much like Velcro to trap bad odors. Morning is the worst time because our mouths have been dry all night, giving bacteria plenty of time to work their smelly magic.
Causes of Bad Breath
Food is a major cause of bad breath, but so is not eating enough. “Time intervals in between eating cause bacteria to accumulate in the oral cavity, and there’s not enough saliva to produce the normal cleansing that occurs,” Spielman says. Some drugs reduce levels of saliva too. An easy fix? Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking mints or candy can help combat dry mouth.