5 reasons you may have bad breath

You brush your teeth twice a day and constantly pop mints, but you still can’t seem to get rid of your bad breath. Halitosis is the dental term used to describe bad breath, and it may be due to multiple factors, not just one.

So, let’s navigate through all the reasons so you can finally come up with a solution to your stinky situation and save money on breath mints.  

1. Your diet is filled with smelly foods

Foods with pungent odour are some of the main culprits for bad breath. Think onions, garlic and various spices. Of course, as South Africans, we’ve all had our fair share of garlic breath now and then, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Acidic foods, like citrus fruits and pasta sauce, can also cause bad breath because odour-causing bacteria love acidic environments. Usually, diet-related factors are short-lived and quickly resolved with proper brushing techniques.  

Read: 3 healthy food tips for your teeth

2. You experience dry mouth frequently

A dry mouth is another reason you might cover up your mouth or avoid talking to people. This typically occurs due to a lack of saliva, a natural anti-bacterial fluid that helps to remove bacteria from the mouth. If you lack saliva, odour-causing bacteria can rapidly multiply, resulting in bad breath.

In addition, specific foods and drinks can lead to mouth dehydration, including alcohol, coffee and tea. Medications and stress are also culprits, so keep this in mind when your mouth feels dry.

To limit the effects of a dry mouth, try to keep as hydrated as possible — this will help with saliva production too. 

3. Your oral hygiene routine is not up to standard

Halitosis can occur if you have a lot of bacteria and plaque build-up from not brushing and flossing frequently or not doing it correctly. In addition, gum disease can cause bacteria from underneath the gums to decay the enamel, resulting in bad breath and an unsavoury taste in your mouth. 

Read: Toothbrush tips for better oral hygiene

4. You’re a regular smoker 

If you’re unfamiliar with smoker’s breath, it’s a term used to describe the mouth odour of those who smoke frequently. Smoking can lead to a lack of oxygen in the mouth and cause dryness and other unfavourable health issues.

Try to quit smoking where possible or, at the very least, reduce your cigarette intake.

5. You experience acid reflux

Acid reflux not only causes terrible odour from the stomach acids resurfacing in your mouth but can also cause dental erosion. Try preventive techniques to help reduce or avoid reflux, such as eating smaller meal portions, avoiding smoking and remaining upright for at least 3 hours after a meal.

You can also try eliminating specific foods from your diet to prevent acid reflux. For example, avoid fizzy drinks, spicy foods and processed or fatty meals. Do not exercise heavily after eating, especially if it involves bending over, and try to sleep on a slight incline. You should speak to your GP if the reflux continues.

 If you suffer from halitosis, we recommend speaking to a dental professional to help determine its cause and come up with a solution. For example, your dentist or oral hygienist may recommend a professional scale and clean to remove the bacteria from the teeth and the gums that may be causing the bad breath. In addition, we can educate you on oral hygiene techniques, such as how to brush and floss correctly, to help stop that odour-causing bacteria from building up.

 If you have questions or concerns regarding your mouth or oral health, feel free to call us at 021 671 1504.