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8 Surprising Causes of Bad Breath


Woman covering her mouth to hide bad breath during a date in a coffee shop

Do you know what’s causing your bad breath?

It’s important to find out. Identifying the cause is often the key to successfully treating bad breath (also called halitosis).

Additionally, foul-smelling breath can have a very serious underlying cause that needs treatment.

So instead of just masking your halitosis with a breath mint, consider some possible factors that may be behind it.

1. Poor Oral Hygiene

One of the first things to consider is how well you’re brushing and flossing. If you’re slacking off, then there’s likely to be a huge population of plaque bacteria growing in your mouth.

These germs love to build up on the tongue and they give off gases that cause bad breath. Brushing and flossing every day will lower the numbers of smelly bacteria. You may also want to try brushing your tongue and using an antibacterial rinse.

2. Diet

Garlic and onions are notorious for causing bad breath. But did you know there are other foods that contribute to a short-term case of halitosis? These can include:

● Coffee and other caffeinated beverages ● Fish ● Dairy ● Horseradish ● Alcohol

To counter the lingering effects of a stinky meal, try these natural breath fresheners:

● Celery ● Parsley ● Mint ● Fennel ● Green tea ● Fresh fruit like apples or pears

3. Respiratory Issues

An infection in the sinuses can lead to a temporary case of bad breath. This often has to do with the fact that obstructed breathing dries out the mouth, and this, in turn, leads to an overgrowth of bacteria.

If you have a cough along with bad breath, then that could indicate a lung infection like pneumonia.

4. Digestive Problems

Your breath may stink if you have a condition such as acid reflux. Excess gas or acid from the stomach that makes its way back to your mouth can leave a sour odor. Persistent and inexplicable bad breath may even be linked to deeper problems in the kidneys or liver.

5. Tonsil Stones

Have you ever seen a strange whitish lump on one of your tonsils? If it’s not painful but smells terrible, then it could be a tonsil stone.

Tonsil stones form when food and bacteria collect in pits on and around the tonsils. They stink due to the bacteria content. A dentist or doctor can give you advice on how to remove and prevent these stones.

6. Cavities or Abscess

Bad-smelling breath could mean you have a tooth that needs to be filled.

A cavity happens when tooth enamel and dentin are eaten away by bacteria. Decaying tooth smells bad enough. But if the infection reaches the inside of the tooth and causes a pus-filled abscess, then that may cause an odor you can’t ignore.

7. Dry Mouth

Saliva naturally cleanses the mouth of odor-causing bacteria and debris. But when there’s a saliva shortage, germs proliferate. A dry mouth is also the perfect spot for a yeast infection to set in, another potential factor in halitosis.

8. Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious condition because it leads to tooth-loss if not treated. It’s also a chronic inflammatory disease which can increase the risk of or worsen other conditions like diabetes.

Also called periodontitis, gum disease happens when plaque triggers inflammation in the gums. This leads to an immune response which backfires and causes ligaments and bone around the teeth to break down, as well.

Similar to a rotting tooth, rotting gums don’t smell pleasant. You should definitely schedule a gum health examination if you have chronic bad breath that won’t go away.

Bad Breath Treatment in Tacoma

Bad breath doesn’t have to be a curse on your social life, forever! Get help treating the cause of halitosis and say hello to a healthier and sweeter smile. A Tacoma dentist is the best place to start. Contact Dr. Duke Bui today to schedule your dental checkup.

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