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Help Fight Bad Breath

Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, is an embarrassing condition with several possible underlying causes. Learn what might be to blame for your bad breath, which might give you clues about how to get rid of it.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Certain oral bacteria emit unpleasant odors as they feed and multiply. Sometimes, the bacteria in your gut even affect how your breath smells. Here are some of the most likely reasons your breath stinks:

  • Gum disease is a leading cause of persistent bad breath. When your oral tissues become infected, harmful bacteria linger in your mouth and give off an unpleasant odor.
  • An infected tooth, mouth sore, or inflamed tonsils can give you a bad taste in your mouth and cause halitosis.
  • Foods such as garlic, onions, and certain spices create foul-smelling byproducts as they break down.
  • Smoking causes an unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath.
  • Forgetting to brush and floss allows food particles and bacteria to accumulate in your mouth. If this happens consistently, you could develop oral health problems that produce bad smells.
  • Chronic dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can lead to all-day “morning breath.”
  • Some medications contribute to bad breath by causing dry mouth. Others release foul-smelling chemicals in the body that can be carried on your breath.
  • Other causes—including certain diseases, metabolic disorders, and acid reflux—can cause your breath to take on a distinctive odor.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

Gum and breath mints mask unpleasant odors temporarily, but you need a more lasting solution. Take these steps to improve the freshness of your breath:

  • Treat underlying gum disease and oral infections with help from your dentist.
  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and replace your toothbrush every three months.
  • Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and odor-causing bacteria and plaque from between your teeth and along the gum line.
  • Brush your tongue with your toothbrush to remove odor-causing bacteria that tend to linger there.
  • Clean your oral appliances—including dentures, retainers, bridges, and mouth guards—thoroughly once a day or as directed by your dentist. Consider using an electric toothbrush if you wear braces.
  • Adjust your diet to avoid smelly foods that cause bad breath. Also, be aware that sugary foods are linked to bad breath, and anything that gives you acid reflux could be a culprit.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for preventative checkups and teeth cleanings. If you have any concerns about bad breath, bring them up with your dentist at your next appointment.

Dr. Spalitto of West County Dental can offer his expert advice about treating and avoiding halitosis. Whether you have an underlying oral health problem or you simply want personalized ways to freshen your breath, we’re here to help! Call us at (314) 488-2921 or contact us online today to reserve your next appointment.