What Causes Bad Breath?

black woman with straight hair smiling with hands covering her mouth
Author: cmcgovern Posted: November 17th, 2020 Category:

Everyone gets bad breath from time to time, but long-lasting bad breath can indicate a serious issue. Here’s what you need to know.

Morning breath, coffee breath, garlic breath — everybody suffers from bad breath from time to time. In fact, according to the Bad Breath Institute, 35 to 45 percent of people in the world experience some level of halitosis. However, if you have chronic bad breath that persists even after you brush and floss, you might have a more serious underlying issue. Here’s everything you need to know about the causes of bad breath and how to prevent it. 

What Causes Bad Breath?

The root cause of bad breath is simple — bacteria. Everyday, oral bacteria and debris from your tongue congeal to form a biofilm on your teeth. If you don’t remove that film, the bacteria will continue to grow and fester, causing an unpleasant odor. Dry mouth can also cause bad breath. If you don’t produce enough saliva to periodically rinse your mouth and remove food particles and bacteria from your teeth, your breath will have a dry, dehydrated smell. 

Also, it’s no secret that the foods you eat and beverages you drink can affect the smell of your breath. Onions, garlic, spicy foods, coffee, and other products deposit a lot of strong-smelling bacteria in your mouth. What’s more, when you eat these foods, some odor-causing particles enter your bloodstream and wind up in your lungs, which pushes out bad breath each time you exhale.

In more serious cases, poor oral hygiene and diet aren’t to blame. Gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis can make bad breath worse no matter how much you brush. Bad breath can also be an unfortunate side effect of many serious health complications like diabetes, respiratory infections, and a wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders. 

5 Solutions for Fresher Breath

For most people and in most cases, bad breath is a temporary issue that can be alleviated with a few simple home remedies. Try these five tips to keep your breath smelling as fresh as possible:

  1. Practice Good Dental Hygiene — To keep your bacteria biofilm at bay, brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day for two minutes. Floss daily to remove food particles from in between your teeth, and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash for extra freshness. 
  2. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Tongue — Your tongue harbors a lot of bacteria and many people forget about it while brushing. You can gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush or use a tongue scraper to remove unwanted bacteria and give your mouth a total clean.
  3. Clean Your Dental Appliances — Bridges and dentures should be cleaned once a day to cut down on bacteria, while retainers and mouth guards should be cleaned before you put them in your mouth. Your dentist can recommend cleaning products and methods.
  4. Adjust Your Diet — As much as you can, avoid certain foods and beverages that are known to cause bad breath. Brush your teeth immediately after any smelly meal, and drink water throughout the day to rinse away food particles.
  5. Don’t Smoke — Smoking causes bad breath and makes you more susceptible to oral cancers, gum disease, and more. It’s best to cut out tobacco products altogether. 

Get Expert Advice

Bad breath is embarrassing to experience (or even to talk about!), but if you’ve tried breath-freshening strategies like those above and still haven’t found relief, don’t be afraid to reach out to a dentist. Patients all over the Denver metro area trust Espire Dental to help them with their oral health in a professional, comforting, and anxiety-free environment. Contact us today to schedule a cleaning!