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What Causes Bad Breath and How to Get Rid of It

man with glasses checking the smell of his bad breath


What Causes Bad Breath and How to Get Rid of It

We’re all familiar with the funky smell that comes from our mouths when we’ve just woken up in the morning, but bad breath that lasts throughout the day despite brushing our teeth? That’s entirely another story! Imagine trying to speak at an interview, or ordering coffee at a cafe. You would not want anybody smelling that at all—the ramifications this can have on your social life, career, and personal relationships are endless.

The unpleasant breath odor is known medically as halitosis, bad breath can be the result of oral disease, poor oral hygiene, or, in rare cases, an underlying illness. Diet and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as alcoholism and smoking can also contribute to having bad breath. Bad breath also has some psychological effects.

People who have been alerted to having bad breath may develop anxiety about this sensitive issue. So, how do you get rid of bad breath? There is an abundance of products to fight bad breath such as mouthwash, gum, mints, toothpaste, and more. Sadly, many of these products only solve the problem temporarily and do not address the root cause. Positive lifestyle and diet changes along with proper oral hygiene may help the problem, but ultimately, one must seek the help of an oral healthcare professional if bad breath still persists.

Bad breath odors vary from person to person, depending on the underlying cause. Some people even think they have bad breath but do not, while others have bad breath they are unaware of completely. There are two major concerns about bad breath which are both genuine and non-genuine. Genuine cases are those that are physiological in nature, while non-genuine cases are merely referred to as “delusional” which can be caused by some kind of halitophobia or pseudo halitosis. Remaining cases are the result of disorders, either in the ear, nose and throat region, the lungs, or the gastroesophageal tract.


What Causes Bad Breath Even After Brushing?

What causes bad breath cannot simply be pinned down to one factor alone as there are several factors that can contribute to bad breath, as mentioned earlier. 

Here are some of the most common causes of bad breath that you could potentially be suffering from. 

The best opinion should always come from a dental professional, so make sure you get checked if your problem persists.


  • Mouth

A study on halitosis conducted by Canadian oral health expert, Mel Rosenberg, “The Science of Bad Breath”, shows 90% of genuine cases of bad breath come from the mouth itself. This is known medically as intra-oral halitosis, oral malodor, or oral halitosis. This is why one of the most important things to understand is how to kill bad bacteria in your mouth.

Dental plaque, which is of course found in your mouth, is a major cause of bad breath. Initially, it’s a sticky and colorless biofilm made up of bacteria found in the mouth that forms in the teeth and gum line. When it forms tartar, it becomes yellowish to brown. It is in the process of forming dental plaque, which is one of the most common causes of bad breath. This substance can produce foul odors caused by the breakdown of proteins found in leftover food particles in your mouth which are released every time you breathe. Certain foods and beverages may even cause elevated levels of foul odor, particularly in the absence of proper oral hygiene.

This is why it is extra important to use a proper mouthwash and the right kind of toothpaste that will penetrate dental plaque and tartar to help kill the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.


  • Tongue

If you find that you still have bad breath after brushing your teeth, the culprit might be an area of your mouth that you may be neglecting – the tongue. The tongue also harbors bacteria that produce foul odors associated with bad breath. Large quantities of bacteria are often found in the posterior dorsum of the tongue. This area is often dry and poorly cleansed and relatively disturbed during normal tongue activity – a perfect breeding ground, one might say. 

These bacteria yield a foul “rotten egg” type of smell because of the volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) present. However, these bacteria should not be confused with the white coating present on the tongue. Make sure that you clean your tongue as part of your brushing routine, and use a mouthwash that will take care of the rest of the nasty bacteria on your tongue and in your mouth.


  • Gums

There are small grooves found between teeth and gums. These are called gingival crevices, and they can become inflamed when a person is suffering from gingivitis, which can be another cause of bad breath. Gum disease can also be the cause of severe halitosis, especially in its advanced stages where pockets may form in the gums that contain pus. People with uncontrolled diabetes are prone to have gingival abscesses. The bacteria that cause gum diseases ultimately produce volatile sulfur compounds. One of these compounds, methanethiol, is one of the most prominent compounds that contribute to bad breath. This means that your bad breath could be a symptom of gingivitis or gum disease.

If you are suffering from bad breath and think you may have gingivitis or gum disease, you should seek the help of a dental professional.


What Role Do Lifestyle and Diet Play?

Certain foods, beverages, and tobacco products are also primary causes of bad breath. Food and beverages that have high sugar content are particularly notable as these sugars are the primary food of the bacteria present in the mouth and will cause an increased buildup of dental plaque. Additionally. tobacco products can stain your teeth and may lead to gum disease. 

If you’re wondering how to get rid of bad breath, consider making certain lifestyle or diet changes like giving up smoking or chewing tobacco, or eating a diet that consists of less-sugary foods.


How can you avoid bad breath?

At home, simple remedies and lifestyle changes can help reduce bad breath. Proper oral hygiene is also key. 

Here are a few things you can do at home to help kill odor-causing bacteria in your mouth and will help you get rid of that pesky bad breath.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Flossing as a part of your brushing routine and after meals will clean your teeth thoroughly and will remove food particles that cannot be reached by your toothbrush.
  • Clean your dentures if you have any. This also includes bridges or mouthguards. Make sure you wash these thoroughly after each use.
  • Don’t forget to clean your tongue. You can use a tongue scraper or brushing your tongue will do. 
  • Stay hydrated to avoid dry mouth. Avoid alcohol and tobacco and keep the saliva flowing by chewing sugar-free gum.
  • Change your diet. Avoid onions, garlic, and spicy food. Also, foods rich in sugar such as candy bars also contribute to bad breath. Eat crisp fruits or vegetables such as apples and celery to stimulate your gums and increase saliva production.
  • Use a mouth rinse regularly to get into hard-to-reach spaces in your mouth. Make sure you choose the right type because some contain ingredients like alcohol that can lead to dry mouth. One particular type of mouth rinse that is both effective and safe with pH content is Nano Silver mouthwash from Elementa. This mouthwash is effective at penetrating dental plaque and killing harmful odor-causing bacteria.


Learn More About How Nano Silver Can Help Get Rid of Your Bad Breath

We hope that this article will enlighten you about what causes bad breath and encourage you to avoid foods and lifestyle choices that may contribute to bad breath. 

Learn more about Nano Silver and view more of Elementa’s Nano Silver products that will help kill bacteria in your mouth and help you tackle that pesky bad breath once and for all.

Always remember to seek medical help if bad breath persists.