Bad breath can be embarrassing for some. Chewing gum and rinsing with mouthwash doesn’t do much to address the problem. Good oral hygiene can help you get rid of bad breath. Here is a guide to understanding bad breath in seniors.
The increase in bacteria and bad odor may be due to the breakdown of food particles. Bad breath can also be caused by particular meals such as onions, spices, and garlic. Following digestion, these foods enter your bloodstream and are transferred to your lungs, affecting your breath.
Poor Dental Hygiene
If you’re not brushing your teeth daily, the particles from your food will remain in your mouth which might form plaque, a sticky and colorless bacterium that builds on your teeth. If plaque isn’t removed, it can irritate your gums and lead to plaque-filled gaps between your gums and teeth. Bacteria that create odor can also be trapped on your tongue. If you have dentures, they might be the cause of bad breath if they’re not cleaned regularly or if they do not fit properly, causing bacteria and odors in your mouth.
Mouth, Throat, and Nose Conditions
On some occasions, bad breath might be caused by small stones that grow in your tonsils and are covered by microorganisms that produce odor. It can also be caused by infections or persistent inflammation of the nose or throat, which can lead to postnasal drip.
Chemicals produced by other diseases like certain cancers or conditions such as metabolic disorders can induce breath odor. A foreign body caught in a nostril such as a piece of food can also be the cause of bad breath.
Saliva assists in cleansing by removing particles that cause odors. When saliva production is reduced, a condition known as xerostomia develops, resulting in poor breath. ‘Morning breath’ is naturally caused by dry mouth while sleeping and exacerbates when you sleep with your mouth open. An issue with your salivary glands as well as several diseases can cause chronic dry mouth.
Symptoms and When to See a Doctor
The cause of bad breath odor varies, depending on the source or underlying cause. While some people who have little to no mouth odor are very concerned about their breath, others are unaware that they have foul breath. As assessing your breath may be difficult, you should get the help of a close friend or family member to verify your bad-breath concerns.
If you have poor breath, you should re-examine your oral hygiene routines by making modifications to your lifestyle such as brushing your teeth after meals or flossing. You should consult your dentist if your bad breath continues after making these modifications. If your dentist believes your bad breath is the consequence of something more serious, they may refer you to a doctor to figure out what’s causing it.
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