Bad Breath: Causes and Cures
Are you embarrassed to talk to your dentist about bad breath? Please don’t be. Trust me, we want to know, and we want to help—in fact, it’s our job to know because halitosis can be an indicator of something wrong elsewhere in the body, like an infection, nasal polyps, kidney problems, diabetes, liver disease, malnutrition, or even cancer.
Causes of Bad Breath
Dry mouth: Dry mouth is enemy number one with bad breath! A dry mouth is a stinky mouth. Getting dehydrated impedes saliva production.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease: This is the number one cause of bad breath that I see. This type of bad breath is often described as a bad taste in the mouth.
Inadequate oral hygiene: Bad breath can be caused by inadequate oral hygiene —that is, not flossing daily and brushing at least twice per day, or improper technique.
Garlic and onions: There are lots of stinky foods like kombucha, onions, garlic, and grass-fed beef sticks that are fantastic for oral health even if they are also the cause of bad breath. The oils from stinky foods like onions and garlic can be detected on the breath up to three days after consumption.
Bad breath from the sinuses, mouth, or throat: Bad breath can be an indicator of an infection.
Bad breath from the stomach: GERD, SIBO, Crohn’s Disease, and Celiac Disease can all be major players in causing bad breath.
Here’s what we recommend for treating bad breath:
Remember there are no quick fixes.
Start with the oral microbiome: adopt a new mantra of “feed your good guys.” We’ve been conditioned to think we need to sterilize the mouth when this is actually counterproductive for not just curing bad breath but oral health overall! Discontinue anything you’re using that’s antibacterial, such as antibacterial mouthwash, or toothpaste.
Mouth tape at night. Dry mouth is enemy number one when it comes to bad breath. When we mouth breathe, the mouth dries out, saliva flow stalls, and the oral microbiome is disrupted because we get the wrong kinds of microbes growing in that dried-out, anaerobic environment.
Add prebiotic and probiotic foods to your diet: A common mistake I see is taking only probiotics but no prebiotics. We need both; probiotics are the “seed” and prebiotics are the “feed.”
Add fermented products to your diet: Kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut are fantastic.
Take prebiotic and probiotic supplements: Taking all the probiotic supplements in the world without the proper prebiotics there to ensure their survival won’t help improve oral dysbiosis in the mouth.
Stay hydrated: Hydration allows your mouth to produce saliva, maintain a moist environment in the mouth and maintain that critical balance of bacteria in the mouth for not just good breath but also good oral health overall.
Brush up on your flossing technique: If you aren’t flossing, you’re not removing bad breath causing plaque and bacteria from 30% of the surfaces of the teeth—and that 30% will easily cause bad breath!
If your bad breath persists despite following these suggestions and, most importantly, flossing daily and brushing after meals, see your dentist. Having great oral hygiene, drinking plenty of water, and not smoking – but still having bad breath – could indicate that you have a more serious