What Causes Bad Breath & How Can You Get Rid of it?

February 12, 2020
Toothbrush, Floss and Breath Mints

Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath is not a desirable trait for anyone. Unfortunately, 80 million patients are suffering from chronic mouth odor.

In order to resolve this issue, you’ll first need to determine whether or not you have it. This task is more difficult than you think. Over time, we grow accustomed to the way our breath smells and can no longer detect the odors coming from it.

How to Check Your Breath for Freshness

The good news is, as long as you have a spoon, a halitosis self-diagnosis is well obtainable. Grab your spoon and follow these steps:

  • Wet the spoon with your saliva.
  • Allow some time for the spoon to dry.
  • Smell the spoon. If the spoon smells, so does your breath.

If you discover that you’re guilty of having breath don’t worry, it’s happened to the best of us. This just means you’re one step closer to resolving the issue.

Factors that Lead to Bad Breath

Now that you’ve realized that you have bad breath, let’s understand what might be causing these issues. The following are some common causes:

  • Smoking: Smoking can affect your breath hours after your last cigarette, what a shocker! The smoke particles linger in your throat and lungs scenting your breath with a stale odor. To expand further, 60 odor-causing chemicals, called aromatic hydrocarbons, are in cigarette smoke.
  • Dry Mouth: Dry mouth, a symptom of dehydration and a side effect of many medications, can cause halitosis. This is due to one of saliva’s many functions, to rinse dead skin cells out of your mouth. Check with your pharmacist to see if your medication causes dry mouth, and make sure you’re doing your job at staying hydrated so your saliva can do its job.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene: We’ve all heard that we need to brush twice and floss daily, but have we all understood the importance? Food particles that get left behind on and in between your teeth make a great snack for bacteria, and those bacteria will also eat your teeth. Once they’ve made their home inside your mouth, they give off the odor of foul waste. In order to prevent this remember the two-step oral hygiene care you learned in elementary school: brush twice and floss daily.
  • Skipping Your Dental Check-Ups: Now that you’ve mastered the two important tasks of brushing twice and flossing daily, you need to prioritize seeing your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and cleaning. Tartar, a hard coating on your teeth that only dental professionals can remove, results in bad breath.
  • Gum Disease: The buildup of plaque associated with gum disease mixed with the resulting toxins can cause a foul odor from the mouth.
  • Poorly Fitting Dentures and Other Appliances: The mouth is full of bacteria and when you add appliances such as dentures and retainers you need to be even more cautious. If your dentures need to be replaced or your retainer is loose, the spaces between creates a perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to grow. Always remember to thoroughly clean your appliances every day, and be sure to visit your dentist regularly to check that your appliances are fitting correctly.
  • Other Health Problems: Halitosis is a symptom of several medical issues such as bronchitis, kidney problems, pneumonia, diabetes, sinus infections, postnasal drip, acid reflux, and liver issues.
  • Your Diet: We’ve all had the infamous garlic breath. Pungent foods, like garlic and onions, are known for causing bad breath. Unfortunately, even an extensive clean will only mask the smell at best. The first step of digestion starts in your mouth. Food starts to break down as it’s being chewed, resulting in the odor persisting until the food is completely digested.

Call Your Dentist if the Problem Persists

If you tried correcting all these causes and your bad breath persists, contact your dentist. Your dentist will be able to point you in the right direction if you truly have a more chronic issue. At Flatirons Family Dental & Orthodontist, we’re eager and ready to help. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns!