Causes and Cures for Bad Breath

Bad Breath

Bad Breath – or “halitosis” – is an embarrassing but curable condition. It’s important to first understand what causes this common problem so that we can help to cure your bad breath. Clearly what you put in your mouth leads to the odor that comes out of it. Here are a few common causes of bad breath.

Cause: Food and Digestion
Most people know that food causes bad breath. Certain types of foods can cause worse and more offensive odors than others. Garlic, onions or other strong smelling foods can cause bad breath and should be eaten sparingly. After we eat our food, it travels down the digestive tract to be processed into energy for the body. The digestive process releases gasses that escape through the mouth. These gasses are what contribute to your bad breath.

Cause: Lack of Brushing & Flossing
Many Americans eat 3-5 meals a day and only clean their teeth in the morning and evening. The accumulation of food particles in the mouth will create continued plaque build-up and be a breeding ground for bacteria in your mouth. When you breath out, the odor from these decomposing food particles, the bacteria feeding on them and the plaque on your teeth all come together to cause the offensive mouth odor.

Cause: Oral Diseases and Infections
One of the initial signs of a very serious disease called “periodontal disease” is halitosis. When bacteria and plaque build-up, combined with bits of decomposing food in the mouth, bad breath and even gum damage can result from improper mouth care.

Cause: Cigarette Smoking
Tobacco smoking causes an unpleasant odor after you have had a cigarette. Smoke enters the lungs and then is exhaled through the nose and mouth. This immediately effects your breath because the chemical residue from the smoke remains in your mouth and throat. This smell lingers for hours after having one. Sustained use of cigarettes can cause gum disease, a major cause of bad breath.

Bad Breath Prevention
There are many quick and simple actions you can take to prevent bad breath everyday, here are a few:

Brush more than the usual twice daily. It’s best to brush after meals and remember to include your tongue while you’re cleaning your mouth! Learn more about Preventative Care

Regular dental visits to Dr. Brooks here at San Diego Dentistry will help you get rid of some of the more resilient oral build-up. It’s best to come in for a complete examination and a regular cleaning every six months. Overdue for your appointment? Schedule it today!

Use natural anti-bacterial additives when brushing your teeth. A few drops of tee tree or peppermint oil on your tongue or directly on to your tooth brush when cleaning your teeth will help fight the bacteria causing your bad breath.

If your smoker’s breath is causing problems with others, consider quitting!
Avoid foods that cause bad breath. Onions, garlic and other stinky munchies will leave a lasting unpleasant odor.

Try chewing sugarless gum, mints or breath strips. These increase the amount of saliva in your mouth helping to wash away any excess food particles still in your mouth after a meal. The minty smell from these items will also cover or mask the odor in your mouth, however this effect will only be temporary and it is recommended that you ideally brush after meals.

Not only will practicing these good habits lead to better smelling mouth, but they will also help maintain better overall oral health.