What makes our breath smell foul?

None of us like to hear that we have bad breath. As unpleasant as it is to hear, it’s also uncomfortable for others to tell us. How can we avoid such an awkward situation? The easy answer is to maintain good oral hygiene. Let’s take a closer look at what this means.

What Causes Bad Breath?

First, it helps to know what causes bad breath. Stinky breath usually happens when the natural bacteria in our mouth has a chance break down food particles that linger or build up along our gum lines, between our teeth, and even on our tongue. This process releases smelly compounds that lead to bad breath, also called halitosis. Think morning breath – while we’re sleeping (though this also happens during the day), bacteria is having a party in our mouths, especially if your brushing and flossing is inadequate.

While there are no statistics on the percentage of people who have bad breath, studies show that 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. This can include gum disease, cavities, cracked fillings or unclean dentures. Medical conditions like liver disease, diabetes or postnasal drip and acid reflux, among others, can also contribute to smelly breath.

How to Fix Bad Breath

The good news is that bad breath is usually easy to correct. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day and visiting the dentist every six months significantly help fend off bad breath. As does maintaining a healthy diet. If bad breath persists, take another look at your diet or any medications or health issues.

Here are some additional ways to ensure good breath:

  • Use mouthwash
  • Stay hydrated – but not with sugary drinks
  • Cut back on coffee and alcohol
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid garlic and onions
  • Chew sugarless gum