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5 Common Causes of Bad Breath (And What to Do About Them)

Nobody wants bad breath, but today’s modern diet and lifestyle makes halitosis increasingly likely. If you’re growing concerned about your breath and are looking for solution then help is at hand.

In this article we’re going to look at the most common causes of bad breath, together with some simple rules to ensure that you’re not negatively affected by them. Read on and discover how to rid yourself of bad breath once and for all…

Poor Dental Hygiene

The most common reason for bad breathe is poor dental hygiene. When you fail to take proper care of your teeth and gums bacterial colonies are able to grow in your mouth. Feeding on food particles and sugars which have not been effectively removed through brushing, these bacteria produce unpleasant chemicals which lead to the effect of bad breath.

Left to grow over an extended period of time these same bacteria can have an even more severe side-effects including gum disease and tooth decay. At this point dental assistance will be required to resolve the issues and eliminate bad breath.

The best solution to this cause of bad breath is therefore improved dental hygiene. For example, you should remember that each tooth in your mouth has five separate surfaces that need to be cleaned; all too often patients neglect to floss between their teeth, allowing bacteria to build up.

Furthermore remember that an effective dental hygiene routine focuses not just on the teeth themselves but also the gums and the tongue, both of which can also harbour unpleasant bacterial colonies and cause bad breath.

Lastly remember that regular dental check-ups are just as important as regular brushing for maintaining your teeth in top condition. Therefore if you are suffering from bad breath miss your dentist appointment at your own risk.


If you are a smoker then you are immediately at a disadvantage when it comes to bad breath. It’s not just the smell of tobacco that can make your breath less pleasant; smoking cigarettes can also have a negative impact on your oral hygiene routine.

As an example, smoking has been shown to increase the chances of gum diseases; something which can then have a knock-on effect on how your breath smells.

At the very least then smokers are advised to use smoker’s toothpaste and to take extra care with their dental hygiene routine. Of course, in an ideal world you’ll quit smoking altogether, but we know that this is big ask for many tobacco-addicts!

Food & Drink

An assortment of foods and drinks contain chemicals which can taint the breath. Possibly the best-known are the onion-family – including garlic. Heavily-spiced foods like many curries can have a similar effect. These foods can taint your breath for some hours after consumption, which is why they are best avoided on first dates!

Additionally though some beverages can also have a similar effect. Coffee and alcohol have both been shown to have a negative effect on the breath in some people. Furthermore, sugary drinks like canned sodas, with all the glucose they contain, can also be very effective for damaging tooth enamel and encouraging tooth decay.

If you are concerned about bad breath, analysing your diet so as to try and avoid strongly-flavoured or scented foods and beverages can be a further help. Also, try to at least chew sugar-free gum, or ideally even brush your teeth, after every single meal to keep unwanted sugars and bacteria under control. This may seem like overkill but you’ll be surprised just how much more pleasant such an effort can make your breath.

Crash Dieting

Oddly, many dieters find that losing weight can actually have a negative impact on their breath.

The reason is that when we go on a severely calorie-controlled diet, our bodies break down excess fat as an additional energy source. As this breakdown of fat occurs, chemicals known as “ketones” are often released. These ketones can affect the breath, often making one smell oddly sweet.

It should be said that these ketones are generally only released in noticeable quantities when on one of the more extreme “crash” diets. Therefore if you find that your breath deteriorates while trying to lose weight you’ll either want to suck gum to mask the problem, or to slow down your weight loss progress.

By gently increasing the calories you’re consuming you should find a “sweet spot” whereby you’re able to still lose weight but without the unpleasant release of ketones onto the breath


Medical Conditions

Lastly if none of the previously-mentioned situations apply to you then your bad breath may come as a result of some undiagnosed medical condition.

There are a surprising number of conditions which can affect the breath, though the most common by far is known as “xerostomia”. This is the technical term for “dry mouth”, whereby the salivary glands fail to produce enough of the helpful saliva that typically lubricates the mouth.

A lack of saliva will impact the bacteria in the mouth, enabling them to grow far quicker and, as a result, negatively impacting your breath.

What this means is that if you have genuinely crossed all the other options off the list and yet you’re still suffering from bad breath then a visit to your local doctor may be in order. They will be able to offer further advice on the possible medical causes and carry out tests to ascertain any medical causes of your unfortunate affliction.

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