Bad breath, or Halitosis, is a bothersome condition that most people experience from time to time. Whether you’ve just eaten garlic or onions, or just woke up in the morning, you might experience occasional bad breath. But what if your bad breath persists even after brushing your teeth? What can you do when you’re doing all the right things but you still have that pesky bad breath?

young woman sitting on couch at home, covering her mouth due to bad breath

Why Does My Breath Smell Bad?

Bad breath can be caused by several different things.

  • Food
  • Tobacco products
  • Poor oral health habits
  • Dry mouth
  • Certain medications
  • Periodontal disease
  • Larger health conditions

Food: Different types of food can cause bad breath. Garlic may seem like a fairly obvious one, but garlic can plague your odor three times. First, by simply having just eaten it. Second, garlic is absorbed into your bloodstream and makes a second appearance by escaping through your lungs. Third, garlic releases a bitter scent through your pours. Onions, being part of the same family as garlic, have the same effect in terms of odor. Other foods that are the top culprits of bad breath are dairy products, canned tuna, and horseradish.

The foods you are not eating can play a role in bad breath too. For example, those on a low-carb diet may experience bad breath.

Tobacco Products: It’s widely known that tobacco products are overall bad for your health and that they cause considerable discoloration to your teeth. Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco (chewing and snuff), and cigars are offenders of bad breath. Tobacco users are also at a higher risk of periodontal disease, the loss of ability to taste, irritated gums, and oral cancer.

Poor Oral Health Habits: Having poor oral health habits is a large contributor to bad breath. Bacteria grow best in places that are wet and warm making your mouth a perfect breeding ground. Failing to brush your teeth and floss allows for food particles to get stuck in your teeth, gums, tongue, and cheeks. This food can start to rot and grow bacteria that cause bad breath. Some bacteria even breathe the oxygen we breathe, making your mouth the optimal spot for it to live. Bacteria cause other problems too such as tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Failing to clean your dentures, orthotic, or orthodontic treatment properly can cause bad breath too due to rot and the growth of bacteria.

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia): Saliva plays an essential role in our bodies. Not only does it help to break down food, but it flushes our mouths of food particles and other debris. When we sleep at night, our bodies produce less saliva which is the cause of morning breath. Other things can cause dry mouth too, like medications, gland disorders, and always breathing through your mouth.

Certain Medications: Unfortunately, there may be certain medications that you have to take for non-related health conditions that can cause your mouth to dry and produce bad breath. Talk to your doctor about switching medications if this is something you have trouble with.

Periodontal Disease: A telltale sign of periodontal disease, or gum disease, is bad breath. Not only can gum disease create a foul odor, but it can wreak havoc on your body in other ways such as jaw bone loss, tooth loss, heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and cancer. It’s important to seek help from your Midtown Manhattan dentist if you suspect you have gum disease.

Larger Health Conditions: Bad breath can be a sign of a respiratory infection, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorder, liver disorder, or kidney disorder.

Short Term or Chronic Bad Breath?

It is important to be able to distinguish chronic bad breath from short-term bad breath. Short-term bad breath may look like morning breath, eating (or not eating) certain foods, or a temporary medication. Chronic bad breath is a consistent condition that persists day in and day out without a seemingly easy fix.

Fixing Bad Breath at Home

  1. The number one thing you can do to try and alleviate your bad breath at home is to evaluate your oral hygiene routine. Make sure you are brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing, and making regular trips to your dentist in Midtown Manhattan. Adding a mouthwash to your dental routine could help, too. If you have orthodontics, nighttime orthotics, or dentures, make sure you’re following cleaning instructions every night and every morning.
  2. You could try not overdoing it on foods like garlic, onion, dairy, canned tuna, and horseradish. Or, brushing your teeth and flossing after eating these foods can help dramatically.
  3. Quitting the use of tobacco products will help to improve your bad breath, oral health, and overall health.
  4. Drinking enough water will improve your bad breath. Staying hydrated can help your saliva production and aid in preventing dry mouth. Other accusors of dry mouth are coffee, alcohol, and sugary drinks. Switch out these drinks for water and your saliva production will increase.
  5. Many folk remedies claim to eliminate bad breath. Chewing parsley, drinking pineapple juice, eating fennel or anise seeds, eating oranges, drinking green tea, eating apples, and using mouthwashes made from vinegar and baking soda are just a few. Not all of these have scientific evidence, so if you think you have chronic bad breath, the best thing to do is to see your dentist.

When to Seek Treatment

Unfortunately, many of the at-home remedies may not fix your bad breath if it’s due to underlying issues or if there is rotting food in difficult-to-reach spots. This is when it’s important to seek treatment from a professional. In general, if you have a good oral hygiene routine, aren’t on any medications known to cause it, and your bad breath persists, it’s time to seek help from your dentist.

If your teeth are severely crooked, it can be hard to clean them properly and it might be worth it for you to explore orthodontic treatment. Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment for those looking to straighten their teeth discreetly.

Bad breath is a symptom of tooth decay and cavities due to poor oral hygiene. If your teeth are highly sensitive and you’re experiencing bad breath, talk to your dentist about scheduling an appointment. You may need a filling, crown, root canal, or if it’s severe enough, a tooth extraction.

Gum disease is a reason to seek dental treatment. If you think you may have gum disease, your dentist in Midtown Manhattan can treat your gum disease and bad breath at the same time.

Do You Have Bad Breath?

Are you living near Midtown Manhattan and have bad breath? You shouldn’t, and don’t have to live self-conscious of your breath. Call (212) 557-8668 or contact Appolon Dental Group online to schedule an appointment. At Appolon Dental Group, we are interested in helping you live a life free of dental problems with a smile that you love to show off. Schedule today and we can give you the ultimate luxury: peace of mind.