The cause of bad breath and how to combat it

bad breath - causes and how to combat it

Many suffer from bad breath and this is the most common complaint. But just because nearly every person in the world is struggling with this problem, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact your life.

Did you know that bad breath (or halitosis) was named the third worst smell in some countries? It was competing for first place with baby poo and sewer smell on a hot day. Tough competition!

Just because it is so common and frequent, it doesn’t mean that you have to ignore it, learn to live with. In fact, it can often be a sign of an underlying health problem (not just dental).

But what are the main causes of bad breath? How can we improve it?

The main source of bad breath is your diet

The things you eat and drink have a huge impact not just on your overall health, but also on your breath. There are certain foods that can give you really bad breath and there are those that can be used a good remedy for this problem.

Cut back on food that dehydrate you

Food and drinks, such as coffee, tea and alcohol can dehydrate your mouth. And in order to “wash away” the bacteria in your mouth (we all have it by the way) which is the main culprit of bad breath. So, when you drink a lot of coffee, tea or alcohol, your mouth will dry out, the saliva production will slow down and the harmful bacteria won’t be washed away. And you’re left with bad breath.

Smelly food and bead breath

Well, who would have thought that smelly food can also be a cause of bad breath, right? Joke’s aside, these are also one of the main culprits. So if you’re adding too much garlic to your meals, this can be one of the causes of bad breath.

Aside from smelly food, poor odor from your mouth can also be caused if your diet is rich in proteins, acidic food (citrus fruits for example) or too much sugary foods/drinks. The food/drink residue from these foods/drinks is a real heaven for the bacteria in your mouth.

Poor oral hygiene

If your oral hygiene isn’t efficient enough, the bacteria in your mouth can build up, causing bad breath. This of course doesn’t mean that you’re outright negligent about your oral health. However, skipping one day of teeth brushing or even of you brush poorly (you maybe focus more on some areas than on others) is enough for the bacteria to start growing.

Good oral hygiene is essential, and not only so you don’t have bad breath. It is also important for your oral health and to avoid cavities, tooth aches and potential dental problems. So make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day.

Now, if your tooth brushing is flawless and regular, but you still have bad breath, you might want to also focus on your tongue. Your tongue can also be a good “hiding spot” for harmful bacteria so aside from brushing, make sure that you also use a tongue scraper and clean your tongue too.

Hydration and bad breath

Above, we mentioned that drinks which dry out your mouth can be a cause of bad breath. Well, even if you don’t drink any of those, your mouth can still get dehydrated. Through the day, make sure that you drink plenty of water. Keeping yourself hydrated is not only beneficial for good breath (it stimulates saliva production) but it also does wonders for your overall health (mineral balance in your body, kidney function, blood pressure etc.).

Why are regular dental appointments important?

There are many ways you can prevent, avoid and even minimize bad breath there are also many reasons for it. Unfortunately diagnosing it is not that simple and cannot be done at home.

So if you have good oral hygiene but you still end up with bad breath, the next step would be to schedule an appointment with a dental professional so he/she could correctly assess your overall dental health and see if there are any underlying issues in your mouth that could cause bad breath.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”