Four factors related to the health of your mouth may increase the risk of bad breath (halitosis), according to a study in the journal Acta Odontologica Scandinavica.
The study was done in Tokyo, and enrolled 617 people who were visiting a bad breath clinic. Each person was given an oral exam and gave saliva samples. The researchers found these risk factors for bad breath:
- tongue coating – people with larger areas of tongue coating had more than three times the risk of bad breath as people who had no tongue coating;
- plaque – people with more plaque on their teeth had about twice the risk of bad breath as people who had the least plaque;
- gum disease – people with more advanced gum disease had about a 30% increased risk of bad breath, compared with those who did not have gum disease; and,
- thick saliva – people with thicker saliva had a 10% greater risk of bad breath, compared with those who had thinner saliva.
Regular tooth brushing and flossing can prevent plaque, gum disease and some types of tongue coating. Thick saliva may indicate that a person has dry mouth. Many medicines can cause dry mouth. Other causes include:
- mouth infections;
- allergies, colds or flu; and,
- other medical conditions, such as diabetes or liver disease.