Skip to main content

What Causes Bad Breath and How to Prevent It

Bad breath isn’t always a case of eating food filled with garlic and onions or waking up with morning breath. It can also be a sign of a serious medical condition or the symptom of one that you’re already aware of. No matter the cause, we have some tips to help you gain control of bad breath.

What Causes Bad Breath

Halitosis, the medical term for bad breath, can be caused by a variety of things. Several medical conditions can be a cause of bad breath such as acid reflux, diabetes, sinus infections, and dry mouth. Eating strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions can cause bad breath. Smoking also causes bad breath.

The most common cause of bad breath is the breakdown of food in your mouth and around your teeth. When this food is removed from your mouth, the particles continue to sit there and start to stink. This happens daily. Anytime you eat, you put food particles in your mouth. There are several things you can do daily to reduce the chances of developing bad breath.

How to Prevent Bad Breath

  • Brush your teeth: Brush your teeth after eating. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least two times a day. If bad breath is a regular problem try brushing with a toothpaste that has antibacterial properties.
  • Floss your teeth: You should floss your teeth once every day. This helps remove food from in between your teeth. It will also keep your gums healthier and give you added protection against gum disease.
  • Clean your dentures or retainer: Clean your dentures or retainer as often as is recommended by your dentist. The cleaner they are kept, the less likely it is that there will be food particles stuck in them.
  • Brush your tongue: When you brush your teeth, make sure to also get your tongue. Bad breath can often result from bacteria on the back of your tongue. Keeping it clean will help.
  • Use mouthwash: Mouthwash that has antibacterial properties can kill the bacteria in your mouth. It can also cover the smell if your bad breath is diet-related.
  • Chewing gum: Chewing gum is not going to eliminate the problem, but it can help. When your bad breath is caused by dry mouth this can be a good option for you. Chewing gum can induce salivation, making your mouth not so dry. Chewing gum can also pull food particles out from between your teeth.
  • Change your diet: If you suspect that food is the culprit, then you may need to try switching things up and avoiding foods that cause bad breath. If you eat a lot of onions or garlic you can try cutting back on them or getting rid of them completely. If there are other strong-smelling foods that you eat often, take a break from them and see if that makes a difference.
  • Buy a new toothbrush: You should switch to a new toothbrush about every three to four months. You can tell it is the time when the bristles start to look bent. When you visit your dentist they will usually give you one to replace your old one.
  • Have routine dental check-ups and cleanings: Going to the dentist every 6 months for your routine cleaning and check-up will prevent plaque build-up in your mouth, therefore preventing bad breath. This also makes it so that the dentist can catch any cavities and gum disease before they bother your mouth.

If you have severe bad breath while still practicing good oral hygiene, talk to your dentist or doctor to see if there may be an underlying cause for your bad breath.

About the author

Grove City Dental