10 Reasons for Bad Breath and What You Can Do About it

By David Roach, DDS | Published 4/7/2020 1

bad breath related to food

Photo source: iStock

Bad breath or halitosis as it is popularly known, is not a new term for most people. You may have met someone whom you wished was several meters away from you owing to the foul smell emanating from their mouth. Or, you could have been the culprit causing people to back away from you when you open your mouth to speak.  In this article, we will explore the following issues related to bad breath:

  • Common causes of bad breath
  • Possible solutions
  • And, what to do when the bad breath doesn’t go away

Here are 10 reasons why you get bad breath and what you can do about it:

1. Poor oral hygiene

Before we can even blame the bad breath on anything, we start by looking at how good our oral hygiene care has been. If you do not brush and floss your teeth regularly, you are at high risk of developing halitosis. The lack of proper oral hygiene leads to the build-up of bacteria that, in turn, leads to the decay of your teeth. That is how you end up with a terrible smell in your mouth.

Solution: Do the following:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal if possible.
  • If you can’t brush after every meal, you should try to brush them not less than two times a day.
  • You should also replace your toothbrush after several months.
  • In addition, you should visit your dentist every six months for a thorough check-up.

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2. Gum Disease

Perhaps you just started cleaning your teeth on a regular basis, but the bad breath won’t go away. It is highly likely that you have gum disease, which is responsible for the multiplication of the bacteria in your mouth. Brushing on its own may not be sufficient to get rid of the bad odor; hence you need a better solution.

Solution: You should visit your dentist so that he or she can prescribe the right medication. You should also throw away your toothbrush and purchase a new one, as you begin a new and regular clean up routine.

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The Relationship Between Periodontitis and Systemic Diseases

3. Dry mouth

Diseases such as xerostomia lead to the drying up of your mouth. This is troublesome, owing to the fact that saliva is responsible for cleaning up the mouth naturally.

Solution: You should visit your dentist for him or her to diagnose the underlying medical conditions that are causing your mouth to dry up, and then prescribe the right medication for you.

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What Causes Dry Mouth and How Can You Treat It?

4. Morning breath

We all hate it when we wake up to bad breath in the morning, or after a daytime nap, despite having brushed our mouths before sleeping. This usually happens due to the slowing down of saliva production while we are asleep. This, in turn, creates a suitable environment for the breeding of bacteria which causes the bad breath.

Solution: Brush your teeth right after waking up in order to terminate the bad breath.

5. Foreign material in the nasal cavity

This cause of bad breath is quite common among children. Children love playing with a wide range of materials that they find on the ground or on any surface. The entry of such foreign materials into their nasal cavity can after some time cause terrible breath.

Solution: If you suspect your child has something stuck in his or her nose, call your pediatrician. They may ask to evaluate the child via an in-office or telemedicine visit. Depending on their assessment, they made need to see the child to remove the foreign material. Or, they may be able to instruct you in how to do the removal. 

6. The food you are consuming

Some of the food that you eat has a very significant effect on the odors that leave your body, including your breath. You may have heard of the term “post-meal” breath. That refers to the bad odor that you get after consuming certain foods, including curries, onions, garlic, as well as a wide variety of spices and herbs. You may be tempted to use breath mints to prevent the post-meal breath, but this only masks the bad breath which will return went the mint has dissolved..

Solution: You should avoid consuming the foods that you have discovered as having a bad impact on your breath.

7. Smoking

Smoking causes a very unique type of bad odor, although this may not be apparent to the smoker himself. Also, tobacco is known to increase the chances of the smoker developing gum disease, which as we have already seen is a major cause of bad breath.

Solution: The ultimate solution, in this case, is to quit smoking. If you are not a heavy smoker, then you can clean your mouth thoroughly right after smoking in order to minimize the chances of eventually developing bad breath.

8. Sinus infections

The bacteria that are responsible for the awful stench in your mouth find phlegm and mucus as a very suitable breeding ground. If you, therefore, have a sinus infection that is leading to you producing more mucus, then you should brace yourself for a bad-breath day.

Solution: If you have a cold or sinus infection, you should take the medication prescribed by your physician, in order to curb the disease. You should also brush your teeth more often to ensure that those who are staying around you do not start avoiding you due to the bad odor.

9. Undiagnosed medical conditions

Medical conditions such as diabetes, gastrointestinal disorder as well as bronchitis are known to cause bad breath. If you have noticed that the bad odor from your mouth is simply not disappearing despite you taking good care of your teeth and tongue, then it is possible that you have a major underlying condition that would need to be treated before the bad breath subsides.

Solution: Visit your dentist so that he or she can determine whether you need to get tested for some other conditions and diseases so that you can address the root cause of the bad breath.

10. Dentures

If your dentist has already advised that you should use dentures, then it is up to you to keep them clean as instructed. The failure to do so will lead to the accumulation of food particles on them, and this will eventually lead to you having a bad breath.

Solution: You should clean your dentures after every meal. This should also be accompanied by the thorough brushing of your teeth and the gentle cleaning of your gum.

Related Content:  Tips To Improve Oral Health In The U.S.

The bottom line for bad breath

Bad breath is common and distressing. However, once you figure out the cause, there are almost always effective steps to take to make go away and prevent it from returning.




David Roach, DDS

Website: https://www.greenhillsdentist.net/

Dr. David Roach graduated from the University of Tennesse, Memphis, College of Dentistry in 1994. After graduation, Dr. Roach served three years as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps. After his brief military dental career, Dr. Roach came straight to Nashville and has enjoyed private practice in Nashville since 2000.

He is an active member of the American Dental Association and the Tennessee Dental Association. Continuing education and professional development are important to Dr. Roach; he is also an active member of the Greater Area Nashville Dental Study Club.


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