You brush your teeth everyday, but like clockwork, a few hours pass and your breath is not-so-fresh. It’s a frustrating problem that many people face, but the good news is that bad breath is a fairly easy problem to solve once you determine the root cause. Here are some reasons you might have bad breath.
Are You Not Brushing Well?
You might think your oral hygiene habits are excellent, but are they really? If you’re not timing yourself to make sure you’re brushing for two minutes, if you only brush once a day instead of twice, or if you multitask while brushing and don’t do a thorough job cleaning each tooth, poor oral hygiene could be the underlying cause of your halitosis.
Perhaps you’re ticking all the boxes for brushing, but there’s still another factor to consider: flossing. For healthy teeth and gums—and fresh breath—it’s necessary to floss between each and every tooth at least once a day. The food debris and bacteria that builds up between the teeth can begin to emit a foul odor if not cleared away regularly, which can be a source of bad breath.
Are You Dehydrated?
Dry mouth is the culprit behind many cases of bad breath. You’ve undoubtedly experienced morning breath when you wake up, and bad breath later in the day has the same cause—a mouth that is dry is a mouth where bacteria can collect and cause odor. Dry mouth can be caused by nasal congestion or allergies that lead to mouth breathing, certain medications, or simply not drinking enough water. An effective remedy no matter the cause is to keep a glass or bottle of water with you and sip from it throughout the day.
Do You Have Gum Disease?
When dry mouth is untreated, it can lead to gum disease. Gum disease is an active infection that attacks the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Aside from redness and swelling, one of the first symptoms of gum disease is bad breath. This is because of the proliferation of bacteria in the mouth and it can also be the result of discharge from the infected areas. A simple treatment called scaling and root planing can reverse gum disease, often in a single appointment.
Have You Eaten Something That Causes Bad Breath?
No matter how well you brush, there are certain foods that are bound to cause bad breath. Onions, garlic, and other members of the allium family are the most common culprits. These foods contain sulfur compounds and, unfortunately, the odor they cause is not from your mouth at all but instead comes from your lungs, so no amount of brushing will cure your bad breath—you’ll just have to wait it out! These foods have terrific health benefits, so while you shouldn’t cut them out of your diet altogether, you may just want to skip them when you’re on a date with someone special.
Do You Smoke?
Smoking is another common cause of bad breath. It causes dry mouth, often leads to gum disease, and the smell of the smoke itself is unpleasant. There are many reasons to quit smoking and certainly bad breath is low on the list, but if that’s what it takes to get you to stop, so be it!