canker mouth sores

Bad breath odors vary, depending on the source or the underlying cause. Some people worry too much about their breath even though they have little or no mouth odor, while others have bad breath and don’t know it. Because it’s difficult to assess how your own breath smells, ask a close friend or relative to confirm your bad-breath questions. When to see a doctor

• Food. The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic and spices, also can cause bad breath. After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs and affect your breath.

• Poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. A colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth.

If not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums (periodontitis). Your tongue also can trap bacteria that produce odors. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or don’t fit properly can harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles.

• Dry mouth. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors. A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia (zeer–o-STOE-me-uh) can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to morning breath, and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open. Chronic dry mouth can be caused by a problem with your salivary glands and some diseases.

• Other mouth, nose and throat conditions. Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath.

• Other causes. Diseases, such as some cancers, and conditions such as metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive breath odor as a result of chemicals they produce. Chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) can be associated with bad breath. Bad breath in young children can be caused by a foreign body, such as a piece of food, lodged in a nostril.

( – Opioids are a broad group of pain-relieving drugs that work by interacting with opioid receptors in your cells. Opioids can be made from the poppy plant, such as morphine (e.g., Kadian and MS Contin) or synthesized in a laboratory, such as fentanyl (e.g., Actiq and Duragesic).

Dr. Carrie Krieger, a clinical pharmacist at Mayo Clinic, says an opioid is a substance that binds to an opioid receptor. When we talk about opioid medications, what we’re talking about is everything from natural substances, like morphine and codeine, to synthetic substances, like methadone or fentanyl. And, then, there are some that fall in between. We call those semisynthetic, and that includes oxycodone and hydrocodone, which are pretty commonly prescribed.

There are different ways opioid medications can be administered, says Dr. Krieger. Sometimes, it’s through a patch, or sometimes it’s through a pill that we take by mouth. But, ultimately, the opioid gets into the bloodstream and then travels to opioid receptors that are found in the brain. By binding to those receptors, they sort of dull our pain perception by binding to the receptor. Dr. Krieger says they also can produce an effect stimulating the reward center in the brain that causes that pleasure feeling.

What makes opioid medications effective for treating pain also can make them dangerous. At lower doses, opioids may make you feel sleepy, but higher doses can slow your breathing and heart rate, which can lead to death. Also, the feelings of pleasure that result from taking an opioid can make you want to continue experiencing those feelings, which may lead to addiction.

When we administer opioids at lower doses, we can commonly see drowsiness or dizziness as a potential side effect, but when we give them at higher doses, they can lead to what we call respiratory depression, which means that our respiratory, or our breathing, is diminished, says Dr. Krieger. And, likewise, our heart rate can be diminished. In extreme cases, we can suppress that so that a person doesn’t breathe, and that can lead to death.

The other way that they are particularly dangerous is that they can lead to addiction, Dr. Krieger adds. So, by stimulating this reward center or feeling of pleasure, it can make a person want to continue to experience that, and that’s what leads to addiction.

You can reduce your risk of dangerous side effects by following your health care provider’s instructions carefully and taking your medication exactly as prescribed. Make sure your health care provider knows all of the other medications and supplements you’re taking.