Woman using a tongue cleaner

4 Common Causes of Bad Breath and What to Do about It

Got bad breath? Almost everyone gets halitosis once in a while but some people have a more ongoing problem with a less-than-fresh mouth. However, in most circumstances bad breath can be resolved by addressing the root cause behind the issue.

You Have Poor Oral Care Habits

The most common cause of bad breath is bad habits when it comes to your oral health. If you smoke tobacco, drink too much alcohol or consume copious amounts of coffee, your breath will produce odours that attest to these lifestyle choices. However, it’s not just the vices you practise that you need to guard against, but also the healthy habits that you neglect that should be noticed. 


When you think you smell bad breath, you actually smell the sulfur gases caused by the bacteria in your mouth, especially in the hard to reach places like in between your teeth and at the back of your tongue. If you’re not brushing and flossing your teeth every day and making biannual trips to your family dentist, your mouth is very likely to be malodorous.

The cure: Practise making healthy choices every day
Rinsing with water and using mouthwash don’t fully remove the sulfur-producing bacteria in hard to reach places – it just masks them. This is why you need to brush your teeth two times every day and make sure you take the time to floss carefully and use a tongue cleaner to gently scrape the back of your tongue. There are many new interdental tools, like water flossers or floss picks, which can be used as an alternative to traditional flossing. You should also quit smoking and restrict coffee and alcohol consumption. Finally, be sure to schedule dental cleanings every six months so a dental professional can assess your overall oral health.

Your Diet

Certain foods leave behind their odours in your mouth. Garlic, onion, vinegar and strong spices can only be masked and not eliminated by the use of mouthwash and toothpaste. The trace-smells will depart when the foods have entirely passed through your body.

The cure: Be selective about the food you eat
Minimize or eradicate odour-producing elements from your meals.

You Have Dry Mouth

There are different reasons why some people might produce insufficient saliva and get dry mouth (also known as xerostomia). Certain medications may cause the condition, as can breathing through the mouth. You naturally produce less saliva when you sleep and it’s not uncommon to wake up with “morning mouth.” However, some people also have dry mouth caused by salivary gland problems.

The cure: Drink water and follow doctor’s recommendations
Drinking plenty of water is a good way to promote saliva production. Chewing sugar-free gum and sucking on sugar-free candies can also be beneficial. Use a humidifier to combat dry air in your home and breathe through your nose as much as possible. Additionally, take medications and undergo treatments as needed for salivary gland problems. You can also look at purchasing Biotène products, which can help with dry mouth.

You Have Oral Health Issues

Cavities can sometimes be accompanied by foul odours, and gum disease often comes with its own unpleasant aroma. Both these oral health conditions are caused by buildup of plaque in the mouth that only dentists and hygienists can remove.

The cure: Visit your dentist
Cavities will need to be removed and filled. Gum disease needs to be treated before it worsens and causes tooth loss and atrophying of the jawbone. Regular visits with your dental hygienist go a long way to preventing bad breath.

See a South Edmonton Dentist if you have Persisting Bad Breath
Bad breath can sometimes be a symptom of a larger dental or medical problem. The first step in getting to the bottom of your bad breath should be a visit to your dental clinic in South Edmonton. Don’t already have one? Southgate Dental Centre is always accepting new patients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and eradicate your bad breath.

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