Reviewed by Dr. Gary Morris, DDS

Reading time: five minutes.

You brush your teeth diligently. You floss. You even use mouthwash. Yet, your breath still has an unpleasant odor

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem.

Understanding the root causes and learning how to combat them can help you achieve fresher, more pleasant breath.

In this blog, we will discuss the reasons why your breath may smell bad even after brushing and provide steps to fresher breath.

Key Takeaway

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, and certain health conditions. Simple steps like regular brushing, flossing, staying hydrated, and avoiding tobacco can help you achieve fresher breath. If bad breath persists, consult your dentist to find out any underlying health issues.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath isn’t always a simple issue. Here are some of the usual suspects.

Oral Hygiene

  • Food particles: Leftover food particles in your mouth get broken down by bacteria, producing sulfur compounds that smell like rotten eggs.
  • Plaque buildup: This sticky film on your teeth is a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. If not removed, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, both of which contribute to bad odor.
  • Dry mouth: Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Insufficient saliva production, or dry mouth, can lead to a buildup of odor-causing bacteria.
  • Oral cavities:  Untreated cavities can trap bacteria and food particles, causing a foul odor.
  • Tonsil stones: These are calcium deposits that form in the crevices of tonsils and can cause bad breath.

Health Conditions

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Also known as chronic acid reflux or heartburn, GERD can cause stomach acid to travel back up into the esophagus and mouth, causing a sour or bitter taste and bad breath.
  • Other health issues: Kidney disease, liver disease, sinus infections, postnasal drip, and even some medications can contribute to mouth odor.

Common Culprits

Besides the main causes, several everyday things can trigger foul breath:

  • Tobacco products: If you smoke or chew tobacco it not only stains your teeth but also increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer, all of which contribute to bad breath.
  • Strong-smelling foods: Onions, garlic, and other strong-smelling foods are notorious for causing bad breath, as their odors are carried to your lungs and then expelled through your breath.
  • Sugary foods and drinks: These feed the bacteria in your mouth, leading to increased plaque buildup and bad breath.

Steps for Fresher Breath

Don’t worry, fresh breath is achievable! Follow these steps for a healthier mouth and fresher breath:

  1. Brush at least twice a day: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to remove food particles and plaque from your teeth and tongue to keep your mouth clean.
  2. Floss daily: This removes food and bacteria from between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.
  3. Clean your tongue: Bacteria love to hide on your tongue. Gently scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper or the back of your toothbrush to remove the bacterial buildup.
  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps stimulate saliva production, which helps avoid dry mouth and wash away food particles and bacteria.
  5. Chew sugar-free gum: This can temporarily mask bad breath and also stimulate saliva production.
  6. Avoid tobacco products: Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco will significantly improve your breath and overall health.
  7. Limit sugary foods and drinks: Instead, choose healthier snacks like fruits and vegetables, which can help clean your teeth and promote saliva flow.
  8. Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental exams and cleanings are important for your oral health. They will help you prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and ultimately bad breath.

If you follow these steps and maintain good oral hygiene practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of bad breath and enjoy a healthier, fresher mouth.

Morris Dental Solutions: Your Dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL 

If you suffer from chronic bad breath, it’s essential to address the root cause and not just mask the symptoms. Our team of experienced professionals provides comprehensive dental care that can help you achieve a healthier mouth and fresher breath.

If you are searching for a dentist near me or the best dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL we can help. Call (847) 215-1511 to schedule an appointment. Your healthy smile is our priority!

FAQs About Bad Breath

What drink kills bad breath?

Water is one of the best drinks to help eliminate bad breath. Additionally, green tea has natural antibacterial properties that can fight the bacteria responsible for bad breath. Herbal teas like peppermint tea can also help neutralize odors.

How do I know if bad breath is from the stomach?

If your bad breath persists despite maintaining good oral hygiene, it might be an indication that the source is gastrointestinal. Symptoms such as a sour or bitter taste in your mouth, frequent burping, heartburn, or an upset stomach can be signs that your bad breath is originating from your stomach.

How to tell if your breath stinks?

Lick your wrist, let it dry for a few seconds, and then smell it. If it has an unpleasant scent, your breath might too. Alternatively, gently floss between your back teeth and smell the floss. If it smells bad, this could indicate foul breath. Ask a trusted friend or family member to give you an honest assessment of your breath.

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