What Causes Bad Breath & How Can You Get Rid of it?

June 23, 2017

girl with bad breathBad breath, or halitosis, is not a desirable trait for any of us. Unfortunately, it is common, with more than 80 million patients suffering from chronic mouth odor.

If you want to resolve your bad breath, you’ll first need to determine whether or not you have it, which is more difficult than it seems. As time goes on, we grow accustomed to the way our breath smells and can no longer detect odors.

How to Check Your Breath for Freshness

The good news is, a halitosis self-diagnosis is well within your grasp. All you’ll need is a spoon and to follow these steps:

  1. Wet the spoon with saliva.
  2. Allow the spoon to dry.
  3. Smell the spoon. If the spoon smells, so does your breath.

Are you guilty of having breath that isn’t so fresh? Not to worry, it’s happened to the best of us. And now that you know you have bad breath, you’re closer to resolving the issue.

Factors that Lead to Bad Breath

no smokingOnce you realize you have bad breath, the next thing to do is find the source. The following are some common causes.

  1. Dry Mouth: One of saliva’s many functions is to rinse dead skin cells out of your mouth. Dry mouth, a symptom of dehydration and a side effect of many medications, can cause dry mouth.Check with your pharmacist to see if your medication causes dry mouth, and make sure you’re staying hydrated.
  2. Smoking: Smoke particles that linger in your throat and lungs can stick around for hours, scenting your breath with a stale odor. If that weren’t enough, more than 60 odor-causing chemicals, called aromatic hydrocarbons, are in cigarette smoke.
  3. Poorly Fitting Dentures and Other Appliances: If your dentures need to be replaced or your retainer is loose, the spaces between create a perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to grow. Be sure to thoroughly clean your appliances every day, and be sure you visit your dentist regularly to check that your appliances fit properly.
  4. Poor Oral Hygiene: Food particles that get left behind on your teeth make a great snack for bacteria, and those bacteria will also eat your teeth. Once they’ve made their home inside your mouth, they give off foul-smelling waste. To prevent this from affecting the smell of your breath, it’s important to thoroughly brush twice a day and floss daily to remove buildup.
  5. Gum Disease: The buildup of plaque associated with gum disease and the resulting toxins can cause a foul odor.
  6. Skipping Your Dental Check-Ups: Besides regularly brushing and flossing, another important factor to keeping your oral hygiene in ship shape is to see your dentist every 6 months for a check up and cleaning. Tartar, a hard coating on your teeth that only dental professionals can remove, can result in bad breath.
  7. Other Health Problems: Halitosis is a symptom for several medical issues such as bronchitis, kidney problems, pneumonia, diabetes, sinus infections, postnasal drip, acid reflux, and liver issues.

The Infamous Garlic Breath

Some pungent foods, like garlic and onions, are known for causing particularly bad breath. Unfortunately, even an extensive clean will at best mask the smells. Since your food starts to break down in your mouth, the odor will persist until the food is completely digested.

Call Your Dentist if the Problem Persists

If you tried correcting all these causes and your bad breath persists, contact your dentist. If you truly have a more chronic issue, your dentist will be able to help. Our Highlands Ranch office is ready to help, so feel free to contact us!