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What’s Causing Your Bad Breath & How to Get Rid of It

More formally known as halitosis, bad breath is a condition in which the mouth begins to give off odors, usually due to the accumulation of bacteria. You may find many products on the market that specifically targets halitosis, but since they don’t address the root of the problem, this relief is often only temporary.

Bad breath can usually be traced back to a poor oral hygiene routine and unchecked bacterial growth, but read this article for a more comprehensive idea on what’s causing your bad breath and what needs to be done to get rid of it.

1. Foods & beverages

Foods that contribute to bad breath can be one of two things; they’re either foods that generally smell bad or those that encourage growth of bacteria. In the case of ingredients like garlic and onions, these vegetables can cause bad breath even hours after consumption. Beverages like tea, coffee and alcohol are known to create the ideal environment for bacteria to multiply, which eventually leads to bad breath. If you want to get rid of bad breath, it may be best to steer clear of these foods & beverages.

2. Tobacco chewing

It’s widely researched and known that frequent usage of tobacco products increases your risk of various dental and oral diseases like oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay etc. What you may not know is that it is also linked to bad breath, however. Tobacco contains chemical compounds that react with saliva, creating odours. Smokers would also be very familiar with dry mouth condition, an environment where production of saliva is drastically reduced. This is a prime breeding ground for bacteria, which in turn gives way to halitosis.

3. Infections & diseases

There are instances where your bad breath may not be due to a poor oral hygiene routine or dietary component. Instead, you could have a genetic predisposition or non-hereditary disease/infection that is enabling your bad breath. For example, certain respiratory infections, like bronchitis, postnatal drip etc., are known to cause bad breath. Diabetes, certain cancers and other metabolic disorders can also cause secretion of certain chemical compounds that are capable of worsening your breath.

4. Xerostomia

Xerostomia describes a dry mouth condition, where the mouth fails to produce enough saliva to keep itself lubricated. An environment with reduced saliva also affects your ability to fight off germs. This condition is more of a side effect that occurs due to certain medications or drugs, or simply by not hydrating enough over the course of the day. It also worsens if you tend to sleep with your mouth open.

Saliva contains vital properties that can help kill odour-causing bacteria and germs. So the lack of it, can give way to halitosis. Saliva also provides pH balance and re-mineralization, so it’s quite important to maintain this. You can do so by hydrating more and we can also prescribe certain over-the-counter medications that act as salivary stimulants.

5. Poor dental hygiene

More often than not, a poor oral health routine can play a big role in why you are experiencing foul breath. Poor dental hygiene means that you have an accumulation of food particles in the mouth, which will eventually harden and cause tooth decay. Your tongue can also harbor these bacteria, giving way to an unpleasant taste and odours. All you need to do to fix this, however, is floss daily, brush twice a day and use a good anti-bacterial mouthwash. When brushing, make sure you brush your tongue as well!

6. Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is the term used for the backward flow of stomach contents towards the throat and mouth. This usually occurs due to overeating, with things like alcohol, citrus fruits and oily foods contributing the most. Not only does this motion irritate food pipes, but these food particles can also cause bad breath.

7. Gum disease/periodontitis

Gum disease is the infection of the soft tissue around your gums and as it worsens without treatment, it can also destroy your jawbone and lead to your teeth falling out! This is an extremely common disease because it comes about due to poor oral hygiene. It contributes to bad breath because bacteria don’t just accumulate around your teeth but deep beneath your gumlines. The best way to avoid gum disease is through a proper oral hygiene routine and regular checkups but if you need this disease treated, professional deep cleaning carried out by our dentist is the only way to eliminate the bad odours.

How can I get rid of bad breath?

So now you know some of the main causes of bad breath and how you can avoid it in the first place. Now, how can you get rid of bad breath if you already have it?

1. Proper dental care

If you’re experiencing halitosis due to a condition like gum disease, you’ll need to come in for proper dental care. Periodontitis is a severe dental disease that can irreversibly damage your teeth and gums so make sure you come in as soon as you spot the signs!

2. Anti-bacterial mouthwashes

Including anti-bacterial and anti-microbial mouthwashes into your routine can help prevent the growth of germs. We also recommend toothpaste that contains fluoride and anti-bacterial agents to kill bad-breath-causing microbes.

3. Change your toothbrush

Did you know you should ideally change your toothbrush every 3-4 months? Once a toothbrush has been used for a couple of months, the bristles start to bend and its effectiveness starts to wear off so make sure to change your toothbrush regularly in order to maintain good oral health.

4. Avoid smelly foods

Now that you know certain foods like onion and garlic leave the mouth smelling strongly and tasting bad, you can now avoid them if you suffer from halitosis.

5. Clean your dentures

If you wear dentures, they need to be cleaned properly at least once a day with mouthwash, denture cleaning solution or running water. Much like natural teeth, your dentures can also harbor bacteria that can smell with time.

6. Visit the dentist regularly

You’ll need to visit the dentist regularly for a professional scale and clean. Your oral hygiene routine at home is important but it won’t remove hardened tartar, only your dentist can.

Feel like your breath smells bad and it won’t go away no matter how much you try to brush or floss? Book an appointment with us for a professional evaluation and cleaning, and we’ll help you make the right changes and additions to your lifestyle to get rid of bad breath!