Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is defined as any unpleasant odor from the mouth. It can significantly affect a person’s professional and social life.
Multiple factors contributing to mouth odor include oral diseases, fermentation of food particles in the mouth, sinus infections and unclean dentures. The causative agents are usually bacteria which gather in the mouth and breakdown the food particles causing the breath to smell bad.
Dehydration has been established to be the major cause of bad breath. The production of saliva within a healthy mouth keeps the atmosphere moist and unfavorable for the bacterial species to reside and flourish. Swallowing of saliva often washes away the bacteria and dead cells which accumulate inside the mouth.
During dehydration, the production of saliva declines and thus, its antibacterial potential. The main causes of dehydration and dry mouth include medications, certain health conditions, excessive physical work and lack of fluids. Dry mouth can also be caused by breathing through mouth. Intake of plenty of water, healthy diet, reducing consumption of caffeine, salt or alcohol are some of the common ways to protect against dehydration and dry mouth.
Another important aspect to prevent bad breath is through oral hygiene and regular dental care. It has also been established that consumption of yogurt helps in minimizing the bacterial load in mouth and thus, bad breath. Also, an imbalance in bacterial population within the gut can give rise to bad breath accompanied by digestive symptoms like bloating and constipation which could be controlled by optimizing digestive health.