Man Smelling His Own Bad Breath

How to Beat Bad Breath

Dr. David Osborne

Dr. David Osborne

Bad breath can be a source of embarrassment and social anxiety. Even worse, it could indicate an underlying medical problem. Here’s a look at the causes of bad breath and how you can avoid it.

What Causes Bad Breath?

The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles will remain in your mouth and promote the growth of odour-producing bacteria. This also occurs if you don’t properly clean dentures. When bacteria builds up on your teeth as plaque, it causes gum irritation and may develop into periodontitis, a bacterial infection that can worsen bad breath.

Here are some other potential causes of bad breath:

  • Certain foods and beverages are known perpetrators of bad breath and can linger in your mouth for hours. Additionally, when garlic and onions are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, their molecules circulate in your lungs and continue to affect your breath.
  • Dry mouth, a condition characterized by insufficient saliva production, often results in bad breath since saliva helps flush bacteria and other particles from your mouth. Many people also experience temporary dry mouth when they’re asleep, which may cause an unpleasant oral odour commonly referred to as morning breath.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products directly affects your breath and increases the likelihood of developing gum disease, which can worsen bad breath.
  • Medical conditions like tonsillitis, respiratory infections and gastrointestinal diseases can sometimes cause bad breath. Other medical conditions that may result in bad breath include uncontrolled diabetes and late-stage liver and kidney disease.

What can you do about it?

An appropriate treatment for bad breath depends on the source of the problem. There are products that can provide temporary relief such as mints, sugar-free gum and mouthwash. However, for most people, adopting good oral hygiene habits is the most effective way to prevent and eliminate bad breath. Brush and floss your teeth daily and have your teeth cleaned by a dental professional every six months.

If you’ve adjusted your oral hygiene routine and your dentist has ruled out gum disease, your bad breath may be caused by another underlying medical issue and you should consult a health care professional. For people with dry mouth, there are over-the-counter products to help reduce your symptoms. You should also drink plenty of water, which has the additional benefit of flushing odour-producing food particles from your mouth.

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Dr. David Osborne
Dr. David Osborne
Part Owner of Heritage Dental Centre Edmonton with over 5 years experience.