Expert TalkExpert Talk: 5 Causes Of Bad Breath (& How To Fix It)

Expert Talk: 5 Causes Of Bad Breath (& How To Fix It)

Ugh, bad breath! More than 80 million people suffer from chronic halitosis, which is just a fancy name for bad breath. You’re not alone! Unfortunately, fixing bad breath isn’t always as easy as popping a mint into your mouth. However, if you can identify the underlying cause of your bad breath, then you can fix it.

The Channel 46 collaborated with Dr Naunit Vaid, Partner at Dr Vaid’s Dental, who discusses 5 possible causes of bad breath and how to fix it.

 5 Causes Of Bad Breath

1. Morning Breath

Have you ever wondered why your breath smells bad in the morning? Like most cases of bad breath, morning breath is caused by bacteria. Usually, saliva washes away the debris in your mouth that collects bacteria. But when you sleep, saliva production goes down. That means it’s more difficult for your mouth to fight the bacteria that causes bad breath.

2. Food

Expert Talk: 5 Causes Of Bad Breath (& How To Fix It)

Of course, food! You already knew that foods like garlic and onions cause bad breath. But when you go to brush after lunch make sure you wait 20 minutes because the enamel gets weakened after eating certain foods. Also, eat a healthy, balanced diet! Because it’s good for you, duh, and it’s good for your breath, too. Bad diets cause bad breath.

3. Dehydration

If you can’t quite figure out what’s causing bad breath, the solution might be as easy as it gets: Drink more water! Dehydration causes bad breath because when you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce enough saliva. Without saliva there to clear out debris, bacteria have the chance to grow and cause bad breath. If you aren’t drinking enough water while working out, this might be the cause of your bad breath.

4. Gum Disease

Bad breath is one of the symptoms of gum diseases. Poor oral hygiene allows plaque to build up and that plaque is the perfect place for smelly bacteria to grow. Also, if gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems. Talk to your dentist to figure out the best solution for you. It might be as simple as brushing twice a day and flossing or using an interdental brush or Water Flosser.

5. Other Medical Conditions

If you’ve addressed other potential causes and bad breath persists, then it might be a symptom of a medical condition. In addition to gum diseases, bad breath can also be caused by cavities. When in doubt, see your dentist! Other causes of bad breath include sinus problems, strep throat, and gastric reflux. Although those causes usually have distinct odours. If necessary, your dentist will refer you to a physician.

Read: 7 Types Of Tooth Pain & What They Might Mean

5 Ways To Fix It

You can reduce bad breath by helping to avoid cavities and lower your risk of gum disease. And all this can be achieved by consistently practising good oral hygiene. Any other treatment for bad breath varies depending on the cause. If there is an underlying health condition which is causing bad breath, your dentist will most likely refer you to your physician.

2 Dental Measures To Fix Bad Breath

For causes which are related to oral health, your dentist will work with you to help you control that condition better. 

1. Mouth Rinses & Toothpastes

If your bad breath is due to a buildup of bacteria (plaque) on your teeth, your dentist may recommend a mouth rinse that kills the bacteria. Your dentist may also recommend a toothpaste that contains an anti-bacterial agent to kill the bacteria that cause plaque buildup.

2. Treatment Of Dental Disease

If you have gum disease, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist). Gum disease can cause gums to pull away from your teeth, leaving deep pockets that fill with odour-causing bacteria. Sometimes only professional cleaning removes these bacteria. Your dentist might also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations, a breeding ground for bacteria.

Read: 5 Reasons For Bleeding Gums

8 Lifestyle Changes & Home Remedies To Reduce & Prevent Bad Breath

1. Brush & Rinse Your Teeth After You Eat

Expert Talk: 5 Causes Of Bad Breath (& How To Fix It)

Vigorous oral rinsing with water generally cleans the majority of the food particles which stick to teeth after eating. You may also keep a toothbrush at work to use after eating. Always brush your teeth using a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals. Toothpaste with anti-bacterial properties has been shown to reduce bad breath odours. The golden rule is Two Times Brushing, twice a day. 

2. Floss Or Use An Interdental Brush At Least Once A Day

Proper flossing or using an interdental brush removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth, thereby, helping in controlling bad breath.

3. Brush Your Tongue

Your tongue harbours bacteria, so carefully brushing it may reduce odours. If you have a coated tongue from a significant overgrowth of bacteria (from smoking or dry mouth, for example) may benefit from using a tongue scraper. Nowadays, even toothbrushes are available with a built-in tongue cleaner.

4. Clean Dentures Or Dental Appliances

If you have an artificial replacement of teeth with crowns or bridges or a denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist. If you have a dental retainer or mouth guard, clean it each time before you put it in your mouth. Your dentist can recommend the best cleaning product.

5. Avoid Dry Mouth & Smoking

To keep your mouth moist, avoid tobacco and drink plenty of water. Do not replace it with coffee, soft drinks or alcohol as these can lead to a drier mouth. Using chewing gum or sucking on a candy (preferably sugarless) can also be used to stimulate saliva. For chronic dry mouth, your dentist or physician may prescribe an artificial saliva preparation or an oral medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.

6. Adjust Your Diet

Avoid foods such as onions and garlic that can cause bad breath. Eating a lot of sugary foods is also linked with bad breath.

7. Change Your Toothbrush Frequently

Change your toothbrush when it becomes frayed, about every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush. Always change your brush after any illness as the brush can also harbour bacteria or viruses. 

8. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups

See your dentist on a regular basis — generally twice a year — to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned. Regular cleanings help in removing the buildup of plaque and can prevent bad breath.

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