Dr. Brett L. Johnson

General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Surprising Causes of Bad Breath

Surprising Causes of Bad Breath

For many of us, the idea of having minty fresh breath is an important one. After all, nobody wants to force their foul smelling breath on family, friends and coworkers. Persistent bad breath can even cause many of us to feel self-conscious, which could impact our success in personal and professional areas of our lives. A daily case of dragon’s breath may even lead some in our community to seek out family dental care in Oregon City to treat their odorous problem.

There are many causes of bad breath, but the most common cause of the condition is foul smelling oral bacteria. This odor can come from the oral cavity, the stomach, throat, nose or even sinuses.

Bad breath isn’t exactly a rare condition either, as it’s estimated that over 50 percent of the world’s adult population struggles with the condition, according to Colgate. While the cause of bad breath will vary from person to person, identifying the likely cause of the condition may help you avoid the unpleasant alternative. If you frequently suffer from bad breath, you may want to consider giving up some of the habits that surprisingly cause your breath to smell less than its best.

Drinking alcohol. When you drink alcohol, your mouth becomes dried out. This leads to a reduction in saliva production. Saliva acts as the body’s natural defense against harmful oral bacteria that negatively impact your oral health.

Excessive mouthwash use. While mouthwash may seem like an obvious solution to bad breath, it simply masks the odor and does nothing to eliminate the actual cause. Mouthwash that contains alcohol can eliminate too many types of bacteria in the mouth, which causes your mouth to overcompensate by repopulating with more of the bad breath-causing bacteria than you had initially.

Popping too many mints. Mints can work in a pitch to mask an unfortunately choice of liverwurst and onions for lunch, but they can also eventually make persistent bad breath worse. A study conducted by the American Chemical Society found that sugars in mints can actually feed the bacteria that causes bad breath, making the condition more persistent overall.

Failing to floss. A habit that far too few of our patients practice daily, flossing not only helps to protect the long-term health of your teeth and gums, but it also helps to improve the smell of your breath. If you ever need motivation to floss, just take a quick sniff of the floss after flossing just one tooth. That unfortunate aroma comes from the bacteria between your teeth that brushing cannot remove on its own. So if you want to schedule less frequent visits to receive family dental care in Oregon City, make sure to floss daily.

Using an old toothbrush. The toothbrush may be one of the most effective tools against tooth decay and gum disease, but even the best tools eventually wear out. Heavily used toothbrushes begin to show wear as the bristles begin to breakdown. Old splintered bristles not only work less effectively as removing plaque and oral bacteria that causes bad breath, they may also serve as a breeding ground for bacteria themselves.

Taking medications. Certain types of over-the-counter and prescription medications cause dry mouth as a potential side effect. As we mentioned earlier, saliva plays an important role in protecting the health of your teeth and gums. If a medication you’re taking causes dry mouth, talk with your doctor about switching to an alternative brand that may not cause this symptom.

Not drinking enough water. Finally, staying hydrated ranks as a great way to not only keep your breath smelling its best, but to also protect your oral health. Drinking water throughout the day helps to flush out the odorous bacteria that causes bad breath and tooth decay. It also helps to flush food particles that linger in the mouth after eating, which also helps to prevent bad breath.

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