Bad Breath Blues

young man with surprised look covering mouth with hand

You aren’t alone. Halitosis, or bad breath, affects an estimated 1 in 4 adults. Halitosis does have a significant impact on those who suffer it, both personally and socially. It can also be a sign of somethign else going on inside your body. Are you the 1 in 4? If you are concerned, ask us at your next appointment!

What causes bad breath

Bad breath most often begins in your gums and on your tongue. Decayed food particles and debris from food and drinks form bacteria in your mouth constantly. The decay and debris produce a chemical compound that causes an unpleasant odour. Different bacteria are produced with certain oral conditions, causing specific smells. Periodontal disease, gingivitis, and abscesses (infections) all produce unpleasant odours. Stress, dieting, snoring, age, and hormonal changes can also effect your breath. Chronic dry mouth (xerostomia) and tobacco or alcohol use also contribute to the problem.

Do some foods and drinks make my bad breath worse?

Strong smelling foods produce strong smelling breath. Spicy foods, onions, garlic, and drinks such as coffee and alcohol can be detected in your breath for up to 3 days after digestion. Certain diets, especially low-carb diets, also increase the chance of bad breath.

Why is my breath worse in the morning?

Saliva is the key ingredient in your mouth that helps keep odour managed. It helps wash away odour-causing food particles and bacteria. During sleep, your salivary glands slow down saliva production, allowing bacteria to grow inside your mouth. To alleviate your morning breath, make sure you brush your teeth before going to sleep the night before to reduce the amount of bacteria present overnight. Eating breakfast and brushing will help remove the bacteria growth as well. Morning breath can be associated with hunger or fasting. If you skip breakfast, you might have a hard time getting rid of your morning breath. The odour may return, even after brushing.

How do I get rid of my bad breath?

There are many ways to alleviate bad breath. Practicing good oral hygiene with routine brushing and flossing, using a mouth rinse, and cleaning your tongue all remove bacteria in your mouth. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, chew sugar-free gum, and proper nutrition can all assist in keeping your breath smelling fresh.

My bad breath won’t go away!

The key to dealing with bad breath is determining the cause. Attend your routine dental check up for optimal oral health. Getting rid of plaque and tartar build up, and staying infection free is the best way to alleviate bad breath, and most of the time, that’s all it takes. However, sometimes bad breath is a sign of something more going on with your body. Bad breath commonly accompanies a sinus or respiratory infection, tonsil stones, diabetes, and liver failure. If your dentist believes that your bad breath is related to an internal source, such as an infection, you may be referred to a specialist, or encouraged to visit with your family doctor. Your overall health is important to us. Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you may have!


Academy of General Dentistry, Fact Sheet, Halitosis

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