What Causes Bad Breath?

There are a number of reasons why you might have bad breath. While many causes are harmless, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something serious.

 

Bacteria

Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the numerous types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally live in your mouth. Your mouth also acts like a natural incubator that allows these bacteria to grow. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind.

 

Dry Mouth
Your mouth might not be making enough saliva. Saliva is important because it works around the clock to wash out your mouth. If you don’t have enough, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems or by simply breathing through your mouth.

 

Gum Disease
Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by a sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque.

 

Food
Garlic, onions, coffee… The list of breath-offending foods is long, and what you eat affects the air you exhale.

 

Smoking and Tobacco
Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and puts you at risk of a lot of health problems. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how their breath smells.

 

Medical Conditions
Mouth infections can cause bad breath. If your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, see your healthcare provider.

 

How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?

Following these tips can help you fight bad breath and keep your mouth healthy on a daily basis.

 

Brush and Floss
Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.

 

Clean Your Tongue
Don’t forget about your tongue when you’re taking care of your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and look way back, you’ll see a white or brown coating. That’s where most of bad breath bacteria can be found. Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them out.

 

Rinse Your Mouth
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can help kill bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. It’s only a temporary solution, however. The longer you wait to brush and floss away food in your mouth, the more likely your breath will offend.

 

Clean Your Dentures
If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night, and clean them thoroughly before using them again the next morning.

 

Keep That Saliva Flowing
To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. Also drink a lot of water. This will keep your mouth moist.

 

Quit Smoking
Giving up this dangerous habit is good for your body in many ways. Not only will you have better breath, you’ll have a better quality of life.

 

Visit a Dentist Regularly 
If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see a dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your dentist determines your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor.