What Causes Bad Breath?

added on: July 3, 2019

No matter how good your oral hygiene routine is, chances are you’ve experienced bad breath (also known as halitosis) at least a few times in your life. Although no one wants to hear it, most everyone has the occasional burst of bad breath thanks to certain foods and less than perfect oral hygiene.

Occasional bad breath is one thing but chronic bad breath is completely different (and significantly worse). Chronic halitosis can lead to a sharp decrease in confidence and can easily ruin relationships. Fortunately, most people with bad breath have the ability to get rid of it themselves

Are you brushing (and flossing)?

80% of bad breath cases have an oral source which basically means they’re preventable. The other 20% of people most likely suffer from a disease that has bad breath as one of its symptoms. This includes diabetes, liver disease, chronic bronchitis and some forms of cancer.

While those causes of bad breath are harder to fight, the vast majority of people can easily prevent and treat bad breath. Forgetting to brush and floss regularly are the two main reasons why people have bad breath. When you neglect to brush or floss, bacteria in your mouth begin to breakdown leftover food particles. This breakdown releases sulfur compounds (aka really smelly stuff).

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Consistent poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities and periodontal disease (gum disease) which, over time, increase the number of bacteria in the mouth. Visit the Stanley Dentistry office to make sure poor teeth and gum health isn’t causing your bad breath.

Are you smoking or using tobacco?

Another easy (or relatively easy) way to keep bad breath at bay is to throw away any and all tobacco products. Smoking isn’t just horrible for your teeth and gums in the long run (tooth loss, oral cancer, etc.), it can also cause more short-term problems like bad breath.

Smokers themselves usually can’t tell that their breath smells bad because they’re around the tobacco odor constantly. If you suspect you have bad breath related to smoking, try asking a friend or family member. They’ll be able to give you a more accurate answer.

Do you have chronic dry mouth?

Saliva is really good at keeping your mouth clean and bad-bacteria free. Without it, our gums and teeth would be doomed. If you don’t have enough saliva (aka chronic dry mouth), foul-smelling bacteria can begin to grow in places it normally wouldn’t, causing bad breath.

Another reason to drink more water.

“Morning breath” is caused by a decrease in saliva that naturally happens at night. While this phenomenon is common, having a dry mouth throughout the day isn’t. If you’re drinking plenty of water and you still feel like your body isn’t producing enough saliva, come into the Stanley Dentistry office. There are a few different medications that could help your dry mouth and eradicate your bad breath. You can also order the Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse from our patient store.

Are you cleaning your dentures properly?

If you wear dentures and have bad breath, take a closer look at how you’re cleaning your dentures. Because dentures sit in the mouth all day, they can store food particles and bacteria. This is why thoroughly cleaning them every night is an essential step to keeping them in good shape and keeping your mouth from smelling bad.

For denture cleaning, we recommend using the Polident 3-Minute Anti-Bacterial Denture Cleanser which you can buy in our patient shop.

Do you have tonsil stones?

Tonsils are little pieces of tissue in the back of the throat that catch and filter germs and bacteria. In modern times, they don’t do a whole lot of work. This is why a lot of people elect to have them removed. Still, most doctors won’t remove tonsils in adults unless there’s a serious reason (painful, persistent tonsillitis).

This means a lot of people still have their tonsils which means a lot of people have tonsil stones. When you’re eating, small pieces of food can become trapped in the crevices of the tonsils. This is especially true if you have irregularly shaped tonsils that are covered in numerous pockets and craters. Over time, the food particles break down, releasing a foul, sulfur smell. When removed from the tonsils, tonsil stones are typically small, white, and smelly.

Some people get tonsil stones and some people don’t. Unfortunately, there isn’t a tried-and-true way to keep tonsil stones at bay but there are a few methods that might work for you:

  • Use an oral irrigator to gently clean the tonsils.
  • Gargle with non-alcoholic mouthwash.
  • Practice good dental hygiene

Still having bad breath?

If you feel like you’re doing everything right but you’re still suffering from bad breath, make an appointment at Stanley Dentistry. Our dentists will examine your mouth, listen to your concerns, and give you a more accurate diagnosis.