Bad Breath And Its Causes

24 July 2017
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


One of the most embarrassing oral health conditions is halitosis or bad breath. The condition can be chronic, or it may simply occur once in a while. However, regardless of the frequency, most people would prefer to avoid it. Here is some information about bad breath and its causes:

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath is not always an indication of an illness or disorder. It may be related to several different factors, such as oral bacteria and foods.

Oral Bacteria

An increase in the number of microbes within your mouth can make bad breath more likely.  Anaerobic bacteria, which often reside on the tongue, emit volatile sulfur compounds. These compounds cause the stale odor that is associated with bad breath.

Food Particles

When bits of food remain in the mouth after you eat, the particles can start to decay, releasing an unsavory odor. Also, certain foods, such as onions and garlic, have a naturally high sulfur content that can cause your breath to be more offensive.

Health Conditions

Still, there are other causes of bad breath, such as oral infections and systemic conditions. People who have diabetes, kidney problems or liver issues may experience bad breath more often.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is often associated with halitosis because of the reduction in saliva levels. It occurs naturally as you sleep, resulting in morning breath.

Saliva washes away oral microbes from the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth. Once the clear secretion is reduced, oral microbes increase in number, and your breath start may start to smell. 

How can you lessen the frequency of bad breath?

To control bad breath, it is important to brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss regularly. Proper oral hygiene minimizes the number of bacteria in your mouth and removes leftover particles of food.

In addition to brushing and flossing, a tongue cleaner can be helpful. The tool scrapes away many of the offending microbes from the creases and crevices of your tongue.

Chewing gum can also be beneficial for improving the smell of your breath, since the chewing motion incites the release of more saliva. In addition, since some gum contains xylitol, an anti-bacterial natural sweetener, the gum can help reduce the bacterial population in your mouth. The smell of chewing gum also tends to be pleasant. 

Also, oral appliances, such as braces and retainers, can accumulate bacteria, so it is important to keep them clean as well. 

To learn more about eliminating bad breath, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your area.