6 Causes of Bad Breath and How to Treat It

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be an embarrassing problem. A supply of breath mints may not be enough. While nearly everyone has had an experience with bad breath at some point, Scientific American reports that 25 % of people worldwide experience chronic halitosis. There are many causes and fortunately most of them are easy to remedy.

The Causes Of Bad Breath

  1. Foods
    A variety of foods can cause bad breath and the scent can be evident for hours after brushing your teeth. Foods with strong odors, such as garlic, onions, spicy foods, exotic spices, cheese, fish and acidic beverages like coffee are common culprits. They can leave oils and morsels in your mouth that will lead to a lingering smell.
  2. Smoking and Chewing Tobacco:
    These habits leave chemicals and stains in your mouth. Furthermore, they can cause conditions that lead to halitosis, such as gum disease or oral cancer. There are many benefits to quitting tobacco products and better breath is definitely one of them.
  3. Bacteria:
    Bacteria live and breed in our mouth while breaking down food particles. These microorganisms hide on our teeth, cheeks and tongue. As bacteria sit in the mouth, they multiply and produce byproducts such as acids and noxious gases that produce a distinctive unpleasant odor.
  4. Dry Mouth:
    If you don’t drink enough water, your salivary rates will go down. Saliva is essential for washing away food particles and neutralizing the acids that bacteria produce. That oh-so popular morning breath typically occurs because the salivary glands don’t produce as much saliva when you sleep. Also note that medications can lead to dry mouth. Your dentist can determine if your salivary rates are normal and offer solutions to help kick those salivary glands into gear.
  5. Dental Disease:
    Gum disease or rotten teeth will give off the smell that is associated with severe halitosis. In fact, bad breath is a key warning sign of gum disease. It is imperative that you have these conditions diagnosed and treated to avoid major irreversible damage.
  6. Health Problems:
    Conditions such as diabetes, sinus and throat infections, pneumonia, acid reflux, lactose intolerance and some liver or kidney diseases may be tied to bad breath. You should see your doctor and your dentist to help determine if your halitosis is a medical or dental related problem. If your dentist suspects a medical source, they will likely refer you to your physician.

Bad Breath Treatments

  1. Proper Oral Hygine:
    Improving your oral hygiene with brushing and flossing will reduce the amount of food and bacteria in your mouth. It is also important to brush and clean your tongue, as it is a major surface that harbors those stinky microbes. According to WebMD, one study discovered that participants who cleaned off the coating on their tongue, decreased others perception of foul odor in their mouth by 70-percent. It is suggested that you brush at night to remove debris accumulated during the day and in the morning to fight the morning breath from decreased overnight salivary rates. In addition, floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from in-between your teeth and make sure to clean dentures and devices like retainers with a toothbrush before putting them back in your mouth.
  2. Sugar Free Gum:
    Sugar free gum helps clear food stuck between your teeth and also help increase salivary rates! It’s an excellent remedy for someone on the go. If you can’t chew gum, try a breath strip or mint. Also garnishes such as parsley, mint or basil can help in a pinch to increase saliva and counteract halitosis.
  3. Water:
    Hydration is a key component to fighting bad breath. H2O will wash away food and bacteria and keep the salivary glands working at optimal capacity. A slice of lemon will also aid in freshening your mouth so drink up!
  4. Regular Dental Care:
    If you have periodontal disease there is a low-grade infection happening at your gums. The bacteria are deep and can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist. Cavities can lead to infected or necrotic teeth that will result in a lingering rotting smell. It is always best to have your teeth checked out and cleaned regularly to prevent dental problems that will cause halitosis. See your dentist at least every six months.

    Bad breath can do a number on your self-confidence and affect how others perceive you. Don’t resign yourself to halitosis. Instead, follow our tips to keep your mouth smelling fresh. If you suspect you have halitosis, make an appointment with your North Vancouver dentist Dr. Andrew Ho at Third Street Dental today to find the solution that works for you.