Ask the Dentist – Why Do I Have Bad Breath?

Ask the Dentist – Why Do I have Bad Breath?

-by Dr Mark Rehermann

Bad breath or “halitosis” is a condition that many people have but one that is often not discussed. Not only is it unpleasant for you and those around you, it can also be a source of shame and embarrassment and not easy to talk about.

Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene – more specifically, not brushing and flossing at least twice per day. Many people are surprised they have bad breath because they brush consistently, sometimes even “after every meal.” However, if you aren’t flossing, you aren’t removing plaque and bacteria from 30% of the surfaces on your teeth (if you don’t believe it, try smelling your floss after use and you may never skip flossing again!).

The tongue is also the largest harbor of bacteria in the mouth. It is often neglected in the oral hygiene routine, but it is important to use a tongue scraper regularly to remove the odor-causing bacteria. If you’ve never scraped your tongue before, it might be quite a shock how much gunk you’ll be able to scrape off.

Mouthwash containing alcohol can also dry out your mouth which can actually contribute to bad breath. These mouthwashes act as a temporary masking agent rather than addressing the root cause. Stay hydrated and start drinking lots of water instead! Bad breath can also be caused by underlying conditions, such as gum disease, dehydration, malnutrition, and even diabetes. If your bad breath persists after mastering your oral hygiene, don’t hesitate to come see us at Artisan Dental!