What causes bad breath and how can I get rid of it?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common problem that affects around a quarter of people in the UK. It’s usually caused by poor dental hygiene, but some diseases can cause it too. In this post, we’ll discuss the common causes of bad breath as well as what you can do to get rid of it.

What causes bad breath?

The common causes of bad breath are:

  • Poor dental hygiene. Certain bacteria in the mouth are the most common culprit for bad breath. They produce toxins that smell unpleasant. That’s why if you forget to brush your teeth for a few days, you’ll soon get bad breath.
  • Oral disease. Cavities and gum disease can both cause bad odours.
  • Age. As we get older, our saliva glands get smaller and produce less saliva. This makes your mouth a less hostile environment for the bacteria that cause bad breath.
  • Dental prostheses. Bits of food can sometimes get trapped inside dental prostheses, such as crowns and dentures. From there, the food can rot and produce a bad smell.
  • Some medications. Medications such as antidepressants and anticholinergics can produce bad breath. This is because they slow down your saliva production, which in turn makes it easier for bacteria in your mouth to multiply.
  • Tobacco. Cigarettes and other types of tobacco cause halitosis. Specifically, they cause what’s known as “smoker’s breath”, which is the characteristic bad smell of the breath of chronic smokers.
  • Diets low in calories. Some diets low in calories can make your breath smell strange. This often happens to people who are fasting or trying to lose weight, for example.
  • Certain foods. Some foods, such as garlic and onion, are guilty of producing strong odours in the mouth.
  • Alcohol. All types of alcohol can dehydrate your body and mouth. Dehydration in turn makes your mouth a more friendly environment for the bacteria that cause bad breath.
  • Gastrointestinal disease. Problems with your stomach and intestines, such as ulcers, can lead to bad breath.
  • Digestion problems. When a person has problems digesting their food, the odours of the food can rise up through the stomach and throat and come out as bad breath.

How can I get rid of bad breath?

To treat bad breath, the first thing you have to do is identify the cause.  Once you’ve done that, you can then find a way to treat the underlying problem. To find the cause of your bad breath, we recommend that you visit a health professional such as a GP or dentist. They will be able to tell you if your bad breath is from poor dental hygiene or something else.

If poor oral hygiene is causing your bad breath, then the solution is to improve your dental hygiene routine. You should make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Some people also find that mouthwash helps them stay on top of oral hygiene problems.

If you want to get rid of your bad breath, then we recommend making an appointment at Hazelwood Dental Practice. Our team of professionals will determine the cause of your bad breath and find a way to treat it. Call us on 020 8882 3180 to make an appointment.