Nothing can get you the wrong kind of attention quite like bad breath. It won't matter how sensible your business proposal, how romantic your words or how accurate your dinner order is. If the person on the other end of the exchange is utterly revolted by the odor coming from your mouth, he or she won't be able to think of much else. Worse yet: You may be completely unaware that your breath is having professional and personal repercussions.
Once you realize your breath has gone rogue on you, you need to figure out why. Bad breath can be caused by any number of things -- some of which seem far removed from your mouth. Approximately one out of 10 cases of bad breath is attributable to some non-mouth-related health problem, possibly one of the following [source: Mayo Clinic]:
- Liver problems
- Kidney problems
- Respiratory tract issues
Of course, your diet can lead to bad breath, too. Foods like onions and garlic work their way into your bloodstream. As that blood is processed and oxygenated by the lungs, the lungs expel the odor when you exhale. It's possible to mask breath caused by food, but the problem won't completely clear until all the offending food traces have been metabolically cleared from your blood, one stinky breath at a time.
Food that doesn't make it to the bloodstream can also cause problems. When stuck between your teeth, food promotes bacteria growth. Bacteria interaction with food in your mouth will produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which collect on the tongue and cause bad breath. Brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper to eliminate the VSCs may do wonders to help in these situations.
However, when bacteria go beyond your tongue to cause problems with your teeth and gums, getting rid of bad breath might not be quite so simple. Read on to learn more.