It’s embarrassing to have bad breath and people are often too embarrassed to ask.  What causes bad breath and what can you do to cure chronic bad breath?  You’re not alone!  Studies show that 50% of adults will have bad breath at some point in their lives.  So let’s talk about that uncomfortable topic “what causes bad breath” and hopefully we can give you some tips to take home.

What Causes Bad Breath?

There are many factors that can cause bad breath.  So let’s break it down.
1. Bacteria
Bacteria naturally lives in our mouths and can be one of the main cause of bad breath.  When not contained these bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth after eating and create a waste product that causes us to have a foul odor come from our mouths.

2. Dry Mouth
When you have dry mouth for many different reasons it can cause bad breath.  When you don’t make enough saliva it can’t flush your mouth out from food and bacteria.

3. Gum Disease
Not only is gum disease bad for your oral health it is one of the main cause of bad breath.  Gum disease usually manifests itself as a bad taste/odor that won’t go away.

4. Food
Food can affect your GI tract.  Food not only affects your stomach but your mouth as well.  Garlic, onions, coffee are only some of the offensive foods we eat that can cause bad breath.  People with acid reflux will also complain of bad breath.

5. Smoking and Tobacco
Smoking not only causes health risks but is a major cause for bad breath and yellow teeth.

No one wants bad breath and yellow teeth!  Tobacco products reduces your ability to taste foods and affects your sense of smell, so you may not even know you have bad breath.  It can also cause gum disease that is also another reason for bad breath.

6. Medical Conditions
Mouth infections can cause bad breath and other health conditions cause bad breath.  Sinus conditions such as post nasal drip, acid reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease are main health concerns that cause bad breath.

How Can I Cure Bad Breath?

1. Visit Your Dentist Regularly!!!!!
See your dentist, they can help you determine the cause of bad breath.  Regular checkups can help you determine problems such as poor oral health, gum disease, decay or any medical conditions that may be causing bad breath.  If it’s more serious, they can help point you in the right direction of a specialist that can help cure bad breath.

2. Brush, Floss and use Mouthwash

Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, floss once a day and use mouthwash can cure bad breath.  Odor causing bacteria adheres to your teeth.  You need to attack the situation from all angles. Mouthwash neutralizes odors.  The best mouthwash for bad breath is any wash that will kill odor causing germs.  Brushing mechanically removes bacteria on the outer surface of teeth and flossing removes bacteria and food debris lodged between your teeth.

3. Take Care of Your Tongue
Your tongue is part of your mouth and is often overlooked.  About 90% of odor causing bacteria live on our tongues.  Often in patients complaining of bad breath we will see a thick white or brown coating on the tongue.  Using a tongue scraper once a day is the best way to remove this debris and cure bad breath.

4. Clean Your Dentures, retainers, or Invisalign
If you wear any removable dental appliances they can be a reservoir for odor causing bacteria.  Clean them everyday!

5. Keep That Saliva Flowing
The more the better!  Saliva helps keep food debris moving out of the mouth as well as has bacteria fighting components to cure odor causing bacteria.  Some ways to help get things moving is chewing sugar free gum after meals, eating healthy foods such as carrots or apples. If your dry mouth is severe your dentist can recommend artificial saliva treatments such as Biotene or some more aggressive prescription products.

6. Quit Smoking
You will smell better overall and have better health.  It’s a win win situation!