Bayswater Dentist

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is an embarrassing problem that affects a majority of people across the globe. It can cause social anxiety and self-consciousness while socializing with others. While mints, gum, and mouthwash are popular temporary fixes, they don’t address the underlying problem that causes bad breath.

If you have chronic bad breath that persists, it may be due to one of the following issues:

  • Lax oral hygiene

The main culprit behind bad breath is bacteria in the mouth. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, tiny food particles get stuck between your teeth. Bacteria feed on these particles, releasing foul-smelling compounds.

Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, also builds up on your teeth and gums if you slack on brushing. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar and irritates your gum tissue. Your tongue can trap bacteria as well, so be sure to gently brush your tongue when you clean your teeth.

  • Gum disease

Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar accumulate under your gum line, causing infection. As the gums pull away from the teeth, even more bacteria and debris get trapped in these periodontal pockets. The bacteria emit a strong odour.

The best way to prevent gum disease is to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams. This allows us to remove tartar build-up and check for early signs of infection. Treating gum disease promptly is important for your oral health and fresh breath.

  • Aggressive dieting

Restrictive low-carb diets can sometimes lead to bad breath. Your body needs carbohydrates for fuel. When you drastically cut carbs, your metabolism changes, and your body starts burning more fat for energy. This process releases chemicals called ketones, which have a strong aroma.

High-protein foods like meat and fish contain sulphurous compounds that can also cause an unpleasant smell as your body breaks them down. The odours travel through your bloodstream and into your breath.

Aim for a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Drink plenty of water to support your body’s natural detox processes.

  • Allergies and sleep apnoea

Chronic nasal congestion from allergies or a deviated septum can force you to breathe through your mouth, especially at night. Many people with sleep apnoea breathe through their mouth because their airways become obstructed.

Mouth breathing significantly reduces saliva flow. Saliva continuously rinses your mouth, so when production decreases, bacterial growth increases. If you notice that you frequently wake up with dry mouth and bad breath, it’s worth talking to your doctor about allergies or a possible sleep disorder.

  • Medications

Hundreds of common medications list dry mouth as a side effect. This includes antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, and some blood pressure drugs. Some meds also release chemicals as they break down that carry an odour.

If you take any prescription drugs, check to see if dry mouth is one of the side effects. Chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva flow. An over-the-counter dry mouth product may provide relief as well. Let your dentist know about your medications so that they can suggest treatments.

What to Do About Bad Breath

While everyone gets bad breath occasionally, chronic halitosis is not normal. If you frequently notice an unpleasant taste or smell, schedule an appointment at Bayswater Dentist. We can determine the cause and recommend an appropriate solution, such as a revised homecare routine, a new medication, or treatment for gum disease. You don’t have to feel self-conscious about bad breath – schedule an appointment with us, and we will help!


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