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

June 23, 2017

bad breathNo one wants to have bad breath, but what’s the best way to prevent it? Halitosis, the medical term for bad breath, is quite common. More than 80 million people suffer from chronic odor in their mouths.

The first step to fixing your bad breath is figuring out if you have it, which can be tricky. When we have breath that’s less than fresh, it can be hard to detect. Over time, you can become desensitized to the odor.

How to Check Your Breath

A good way to check for freshness is to use The Spoon Test:

  1. Coat the back of a spoon with saliva.
  2. Let the spoon dry for a few seconds.
  3. Smell the spoon. That’s what your breath smells like.

Not too pleased with the results? No worries, we’ve all had bad breath at some point. Keep reading to learn how to combat the stench and keep your friends’ nose hairs from burning off.

Factors That Lead to Bad Breath

The best way to eliminate bad breath is to go straight to the source. Figure out what is causing the stinky situation and do your best to nip it in the bud.

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene: Brushing and flossing your teeth daily is important for your oral health, and for preventing bad breath. If you don’t remove the bits of food from between and on your teeth, bacteria will start feasting away on these leftovers—and your teeth. This results in an unpleasant odor. You should also regularly be brushing your tongue to remove odor-causing buildup.
  2. Skipping Your Dental Check-Ups: Along with taking care of your oral hygiene by brushing and flossing, you also need to visit the dentist every six months to keep your pearly whites extra clean. The tartar that builds up on your teeth can only be removed by a dentist, and this hard coating can cause bad breath.
  3. Smoking: Smoking leaves smoke particles in the throat and lungs. These particles can hang around for hours, resulting in a stale smell. Additionally, the chemicals found in cigarette smoke can also leave a smelly trace. There are more than 60 of these stinky chemicals, called aromatic hydrocarbons, found in cigarette smoke.
  4. Gum Disease: The buildup of plaque associated with gum disease and the resulting toxins can cause a foul odor.
  5. Poorly Fitting Dentures and Other Appliances: Poorly fitting appliances leave spaces that are ideal for smelly bacteria to grow in. It’s also important to thoroughly wash your dental appliances often to remove any lingering smells.
  6. Dry Mouth: Saliva serves a number of purposes, including washing away dead skin cells and bacteria from the mouth. Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications. To keep your mouth moist, be sure to drink plenty of water.
  7. Other Health Problems: Halitosis is a symptom for several medical issues such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, and liver and kidney problems.

Why is “Garlic Breath” so Resilient?

Your food begins its digestion journey in your mouth. Certain foods that have strong odors, like onions or garlic, leave a distinct smell on your breath. Even a thorough clean will only temporarily mask these odors. Unfortunately, the smell will remain until the food is completely digested.

Call Your Dentist if the Problem Persists

If you’ve exhausted all the possible causes of your bad breath and it isn’t improving, contact your dentist. If you truly have a more chronic issue, your dentist will be able to help. If you’re in the Colorado Springs area, our dentists are ready to help!