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Reasons for bad breath: how GERD and diabetes cause halitosis


We don’t usually concern ourselves with the quality of our breath, unless we detect a persistent unpleasant odor or if someone close to us is kind enough to mention it. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, mask-wearing has become a norm for many of us, especially when out and about. Strapping on a mask, however, makes us more aware of bad breath that we may not have noticed before. Is the face mask to be blamed?


The Truth About Mask Breath
If wearing a face mask makes you more aware of your bad breath, it is likely there are existing factors behind it. Poor oral hygiene and existing medical conditions can cause halitosis, or bad breath, and wearing a face mask may accentuate it. In other words, wearing a mask doesn’t automatically cause bad breath.

If you are breathing more often through your mouth when wearing a face mask, know that you are not alone. We tend to do so with a mask over our face; particularly if the mask’s fabric is covering our nostrils. Mouth breathing also results in dry mouth, which in turn leads to bad breath. Dry mouth occurs when salivary glands do not produce sufficient saliva to prevent the drying of the mouth, thus inhibiting our body’s way of flushing out germs and food residue.

In most halitosis cases, that offensive smell is caused by the production and release of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), a result of oral microorganisms breaking down protein found in the food we eat. There are about 700 species of bacteria that can be found in our mouth, most of which live in dental plaque. Many of these bacteria are capable of producing VSCs. Excessive bacterial growth on the surface of the tongue is another common cause of bad breath.


Tips for Treating Bad Breath
The good news is there are steps you can take to freshen your breath before you wear a mask. For starters, improve your oral hygiene regimen by brushing and flossing regularly. Brushing and flossing help to remove dental plaque but there may still be bacteria left behind — in fact, brushing alone only cleans 25% of the mouth. Gargle with an mouthwash to remove these bacteria and remove any leftover food debris.

Lastly, keep yourself hydrated to avoid dry mouth as bacteria thrives in drier conditions.

Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint the root cause of halitosis when various oral or non-oral causes may be involved. If bad breath persists, consult your dentist or family doctor before the condition worsens. Periodontitis or gum disease, for example, can result in bad breath, bleeding gums and even tooth loss if left untreated. Take good care of your oral health and you might be pleasantly surprised the next time you put on your face mask.

How Can LISTERINE® Products Help?

LISTERINE®’s superior four essential oils formula is designed especially to get rid of germs that cause bad breath. For more information head to this link.

So, swish with LISTERINE® twice a day after brushing and get your protection against gum problems.

This information is intended to generate awareness amongst the users of oral care hygiene products. It is always recommended to seek advice of your dentist or other qualified health care provided for any diagnosis or treatment.