What are the causes of bad breath?
Eliminating bad breath can be simple and effective
Knowing the causes of bad breath can help you get on top of it. The truth is, many of us experience it at some stage and it can be uncomfortable and frustrating, taking a great toll on your confidence. What we often don’t realise is that the underlying reasons are usually treatable.
At our Point Cook dental clinic, we regularly treat patients who are concerned about bad breath. Contact us to book an appointment and our friendly and professional dentists can provide solutions to help you to achieve a fresher smile.
Bad breath explained
Bad breath, known technically as halitosis, is simply an unpleasant odour in the air we breathe out that can be a great cause of distress. It can originate both inside and outside the mouth, but generally bad breath occurs when bacteria that live in our mouth emit a sulphur smelling gas.
There are over 500 bacteria species that live in the mouth and most of them can produce an odour. These bacteria often thrive when you have a range oral health issues like: insufficient oral hygiene, dry mouth, gum disease, or infections.
For some people, bad breath is experienced infrequently, and for others, it is persistent. The frequency may depend on the cause, which is why a visit to the dentist for a check-up is a great first step.
The common culprits for bad breath
Apart from the sulphur-producing bacteria that live on the surface of the tongue and the throat, the other causes of bad breath are:
- Dental factors – high accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontitis (infection around the teeth) or gum disease, cracked fillings or crowns, unclean dentures, or decay
- Dry mouth – caused by medicines, alcohol, stress or a medical condition
- Smoking – which starves the mouth of oxygen
- Foods – such as onions, garlic ,or spicy items, can induce certain short-term odours
Sometimes, bad breath can also be caused by dieting, disease, or problems in the body. If we cannot find the cause in your mouth, we may recommend a trip to your doctor. Some of the less common causes include: acid and bile reflux from the stomach, kidney failure, or post nasal discharge from chronic sinusitis.
At the Point Dental we offer excellent treatment options for bad breath, which vary depending on the cause. If the cause is a dental issue, some of the common treatments include:
If, for example, you have gum disease, your gums may have pulled away from your teeth, leaving space for odour-causing bacteria to grow. Sometimes professional cleaning is required to remove such bacteria.
Decayed teeth and faulty tooth restorations can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, so again, it is crucial your dentist diagnoses the source of the issue to treat it effectively.
Helpful oral care tips
Improving bad breath is often possible, particularly if you are vigilant with your oral care. At The Point Dental, we recommend maintaining regular oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.
Avoiding dehydration is important, along with other easy measures like using certain mouthwashes or toothpastes. We also recommend visiting your dentist twice a year for check-up and cleans.
Other factors to pay attention to when managing bad breath include:
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
- Minimising alcohol intake
- Staying well hydrated throughout the day
- Checking your medications
With these tips and an individualised therapeutic approach from your dentist and doctor, you can be properly equipped to combat plaque accumulation, decay, gum disease, and ultimately breathe easier.