What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Sometimes after you eat something flavored with onions or garlic…you are a little shy to speak with someone up close. Why? You might have bad breath!

It has happened to all of us before. But what if it happens even without eating these foods? What are some of the main causes of bad breath? How can you get rid of it for good?

In this article, we will outline the 4 causes of bad breath, also known as halitosis, and how you can treat it.

4 Causes of Bad Breath

1. Food Particles

This is one of the most common causes of bad breath. As mentioned earlier, certain foods can release chemicals that leave a bad smell in your mouth. 

Spicy foods, fish, and even coffee can leave an unpleasant odor. You can temporarily mask bad breath by chewing sugarless gum until you can brush your teeth. 

In young children, make sure to check their mouth and nose thoroughly for a foreign body. A piece of food could be lodged in their nose causing a bad smell!

2. Dry Mouth

We all need enough Saliva to keep our mouths hydrated, it plays a role in keeping our mouths moist and clean. It’s also why we have ‘morning breath’ because our mouth dries out when we sleep.  

Different medical conditions and certain medications can lessen saliva production and cause persistent bad breath. Salivary gland problems or using chewing tobacco-based products can cause dry mouth as well. 

To get salvia flowing again, your dentist may recommend artificial saliva or a chemical that makes your mouth produce more natural saliva. 

Be sure to stay hydrated and keep your mouth moist by drinking enough water!

3. Gum Disease

Swollen gums can be one of the first warning signs of gum disease. If it progresses to periodontal disease, your gums can start to recede and create pockets where food particles can sit. 

If the pockets are not routinely cleaned it can produce odors and an unpleasant smell.

At your oral exam, your dentist can evaluate and recommend treatments to eliminate the odor-causing bacteria. After seeing your dentist regularly, bad breath should improve. 

4. Health Problems

If you don’t have any of the conditions above, you might have an underlying health problem. 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as heartburn, can be an underlying cause. Acid reflux causes stomach acids to backflow toward your esophagus, and this can cause a bad smell. 

Sinus infections can be associated with bad breath. Postnasal drip can cause a build-up of mucus that contributes to a bad breath odor. Speaking with your family doctor along with your dentist may give you some health solutions.

How to Treat Bad Breath

  • Maintain good oral hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth (aka. have poor oral hygiene), food and bacteria will stick to the teeth causing tooth decay and bad breath odors.
  • Brush Consistently. The American Dental Association suggests brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. 
  • Use a tongue scraper. This can remove some of the bad breath-causing bacteria.
  • Swish with an antibacterial mouthwash. This will kill bacteria the toothbrush can’t.

When You Need Dental Treatment 

If despite your best efforts, bad breath persists, consult with a dental professional. They can provide medical advice and give you tips to see and eliminate what’s maybe causing the persistent mouth odor. 

Sometimes it could be a tooth that is decayed or impacted that is causing halitosis. Our experienced oral surgeon Dr. Edwards here at Estudillo Oral Surgery provides dental extractions to give you relief. Schedule an appointment to visit us today!

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