You are not alone. Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, is estimated to affect about 50% of the population1. Most of the time, bad breath doesn't last forever and the solution is relatively simple. Some causes of bad breath may include pungent foods and smoking - which means that by limiting these products and/or brushing soon after, you can minimize stinky breath.
Another cause of bad breath may be due to bad bacteria and partially digested food particles living in your mouth and in between your teeth. Again, this is a relatively simple fix - by making sure you're brushing and flossing thoroughly and getting in every nook and cranny, you will avoid the bad breath caused by this. Brushing not only your teeth, but also the gums and tongue and remembering to come in for your routine hygiene visits will regularly remove odour-causing bacteria. If you're not confident that your brushing technique is up to par, book yourself in for an Oral Hygiene Instruction appointment with one of our hygienists.
An extension of that advice is to get cavities filled at our dental office. Since cavities are holes in your teeth, it's easier for bacteria and what-not to get trapped in and around those areas - it's much more difficult -if not impossible - to reach into these tiny holes to clean up the space.
Having a crooked set of teeth can also spell trouble for smelly breath. Having malocclusion can allow for bacteria and plaque to build up in the areas where teeth are overlapping and generally be more difficult to brush clean.
A dry mouth can also lead to bad breath - so this can be due to talking too much (LOL, for example, in careers that require it such as professors, it's not uncommon to experience bad breath) or it could be caused by consuming a lot of alcohol or it could be from sleeping with your mouth open at night. A dry mouth means that there is little saliva to wash away food particles and odour-causing bacteria. Pro tip: drink lots of water to keep hydrated because dry mouth can also lead to more dental decay!
Certain medications can lead to drier mouth and therefore, smelly breath. While it's not recommended to stop medications until your family doctor advises you to do so, you can always ask them if there are any alternatives. Mention that you get uncomfortable dry mouth and bad breath and ask them if there are other drugs that can help your medical condition that does not aggravate your dry mouth. If there are no possible alternatives, you're out of luck. But if there are alternatives, changing medications may help.
A high-protein/low-carb diet can also produce halitosis. When protein and fat are burned for energy, they produce ketones as a by-product, which contribute to smelly breath. This means that a balanced diet is key - skip the fads and stick with unprocessed whole foods.
Another possible reason why you may be getting bad breath is an underlying medical condition. Perhaps it's been a while since you've last seen your family doctor, but changes in health can make your breath smell different and it's recommended to seek help.
From our profession, having gum disease or perio condition can lead to odorous breath.
With respect to general health, some patients with diabetes report breath smelling of ketones (like we mentioned earlier), while others report a 'sweet-smelling' breath. Sometimes, having kidney disease can make the breath smell more metallic and/or like ammonia. If you're experiencing any changes in the smell of your breath, it could be indicative of something more serious, so please see your medical doctor as well as us, your local dentist - to find the root of the issue as well as to see how we can help. Call us now at (416) 226-6688.