Health

8 Bad Breath Causes and 8 Ways to Deal with It

Evidence Based Article đź“„
This article has been based on relevant and up-to-date scientific studies. Our writers are unbiased and objective and present the facts as they are known. Numbers in brackets within the article refer to sources included in the reference list at the end of the article.

We all have bad breath at times. If you have chronic bad breath though, you need to find out the cause of it and handle it. You can’t carry a mouthwash anywhere you go, right?

Medically known as halitosis, bad breath might indicate a range of minor and serious health problems. Poor dental health care can cause bad breath, too. Check out the major causes of unpleasant odor and taste in your mouth and ways to deal with this problem.

8 Causes of Bad Breath

1. Lack of oral hygiene

If you don’t clean your whole mouth, including your teeth, two times a day, you’re more likely to have bad breath.

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The plaque and food particles that stay in your mouth stimulate the growth of bacteria, resulting in a strongly unpleasant odor in the mouth.

2. Dry mouth

When the production of saliva reduces and your mouth becomes dry, you can experience bad breath.

Typically, it occurs during sleep at night, but if bad breath stays throughout the day, it’s a warning sign. You might have a condition called xerostomia.

3. Digestive problems

Certain digestive problems, including bowel disorders, constipation, and a slow metabolic rate, can cause bad breath. Acid reflux typically causes stinky odor and taste in the mouth.

4. Smoking and drinking

Avid smokers or alcohol drinkers might not notice their bad breath, but those who don’t have these bad habits will instantly smell your mouth’s odor.

Besides causing the bad odor, smoking increases your risk of gum disease.

5. Diet

If you stick to a high sugar, low carb, or high protein diet, you can frequently find your breath to be very stinky. Naturally present in the mouth, oral bacteria tend to feed on sugar so you can have sour taste and odor after eating sweet treats.

When your body doesn’t get enough carbs, you can also have bad breath due to metabolic changes. On the other hand, eating too much protein can leave your mouth smelling horrible. Some proteins are hard to digest (1) and when they fail to metabolize, they can produce sulfurous gases, causing bad breath.

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6. Prescription medications

Prescription medications have many side effects, including dry mouth. As mentioned above, bad breath can be a result of dry mouth.

7. Coffee

Just like with smoking and alcohol consumption, coffee intake can also cause bad breath. It depends on which coffee you drink. Strong coffee that usually has intense flavor can stay in your mouth for a while. Moreover, coffee can lower saliva production, allowing odor-causing bacteria to thrive in your mouth.

8. Health problems

If you suffer from medical conditions like kidney failure, liver problems, diabetes, tonsillitis, postnasal drip, etc., you might have bad breath. Blood problems, metabolic disorders, and in rare cases, cancer can also trigger a stinky breath.

How to Deal with Bad Breath

If brushing your teeth twice a day doesn’t help you cope with bad breath, you should consult your dentist to identify the root cause of your problem.

The detectors like a beta-galactosidase test, BANA test, gas chromatography, and halimeter are used to precisely rate the odor in your mouth. But before you see a dentist, you can try the following natural ways to treat and prevent bad breath:

1. Clean your teeth thoroughly

Do you brush your teeth correctly? Food particles can be sneaky and quick brushing in the morning might not help to remove them from your teeth. Take your time to clean your teeth thoroughly.

The American Dental Association provides step-by-step instruction on teeth brushing and it recommends brushing teeth, including the outer, inner, and chewing sides, for at least two minutes two times a day. (2)

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This will help you remove the bacteria and plaque buildup that tend to collect between your teeth. It’s also recommended to change your toothbrush every 3 months to avoid bacteria.

Flossing is an excellent way to get rid of the tiniest food particles hidden between your teeth. You don’t need to floss twice a day, but try flossing a few times a week.

2. Clean your tongue

Your tongue can also have bacteria and plaque buildup, which is why you should brush it, too. Smokers should brush their tongues more often to eliminate bad breath.

You can use your toothbrush or a special tongue scraper to clean your tongue. You can use a mouthwash during the day or after a meal to prevent bacteria and plaque buildup.

3. Pay extra attention to your dentures

If you have a mouth guard, a bridge, or dentures, you should clean them each day. Consult your dentist to know how to clean your dentures correctly.

4. Hydrate your mouth

If you hydrate your body during the day by drinking a lot of water, you can skip this tip. However, if you don’t drink enough water and you have dry mouth, you’re more likely to have bad breath. Sip your water frequently.

You can add lemon, lime, or fresh mint leaves to your water for a refreshing effect.

If you have a chronically dry mouth, you might need to take medications that stimulate the production of saliva. See a medical expert to receive a prescription.

5. Monitor what you eat

Onion and garlic cause bad breath, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them.

Avoid eating spicy foods in the morning or brush your teeth thoroughly after a meal. Since foods high in sugar trigger bad breath, limit their consumption to a minimum.

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6. Munch on foods that clean your teeth

Clean teeth equal fresh breath, but not everyone can brush their teeth in the middle of the day. Snacking on fruit and veggies like apples, carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, and lettuce will clean your teeth and mouth at the same time.

7. Quit bad habits

Smokers and drinkers tend to always have an unpleasant odor coming from the mouth. Chewing mint-flavored gum might save the situation for a few minutes or even worsen the odor.

Plus, chewing gums – especially those sweetened with sugar, have a negative impact on dental health along with the digestive system. Quit smoking or try to smoke rarely.

When it comes to alcohol consumption, you can reek of alcohol in the morning and throughout the day. Reduce your alcohol consumption or avoid drinking at all.

According to a study, alcohol intake can inevitably affect the teeth, oral mucosa, and oral cavity. (3) It can increase the risk of mucosal lesions, probing pocket depth, and dental caries.

8. Check your health

There are illnesses and diseases that might cause bad breath, including respiratory tract infections like bronchitis or pneumonia, postnasal drip, chronic sinus infections, chronic acid reflux, diabetes, and kidney or liver issues.

Gum disease also contributes to bad breath and often requires specific treatment. See your doctor and dentist to figure out the cause of bad breath if the aforementioned tooth cleaning methods don’t help.

The final word

Bad breath doesn’t seem like a big problem and you might not even notice it. However, it might be an indication of a serious health problem. Plus, you shouldn’t forget people around you smell that stinky odor coming from your mouth. Luckily, you can solve this problem fast.

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