So, you’re looking for solutions on how to fix bad breath. Nearly everyone will experience bad breath in their lifetime (including the dreaded morning ‘dragon breath’). But for some, bad breath seems to be commonplace in their daily lives. Not only can suffering from chronic halitosis affect self confidence, but it can also be a sign that there’s something more serious going on—not just a love for garlicky food!
If this resonates with you, rest assured, you’re not alone. It’s been estimated that over 80 million Americans suffer from chronic bad breath.
But, what causes halitosis? We go over the main culprits, along with some tips on how to fix bad breath in this post, so keep on reading.
What Causes Bad Breath?
You can mask your chronic halitosis with gum or rinses, but to truly get rid of it you need to treat the source.
As mentioned above, there are many reasons why a person might have bad breath. We’ll go over each reason so you can better pinpoint why your breath (or someone else’s you know) is lacking in the freshness department. Figuring out the main culprit will help with step two of this process: finding the bad breath remedy you need—more on that later.
Your diet/the food you’re eating.
Bad breath can fluctuate throughout the day, becoming more pronounced when you eat certain foods. For example, garlic and onions (particularly raw ones), release oils which can then be exhaled into the air. Meat, fish and cheese can also all make halitosis worse. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat them, though! It just means you need to find ways to remedy these smells after consumption.
There’s food stuck in your teeth.
It seems obvious, but this could be one of the main reasons why your breath smells bad. When food particles get stuck in your teeth and are not removed that day, they can begin to decay. Gross, right? The longer they’re left there, the more they will stink (even if it is just a small piece of food).
You’ve got plaque buildup.
This goes hand in hand with the reason above. When you don’t brush or floss enough, a layer of colorless sticky bacteria starts to build up on your teeth—this is called plaque. Maybe you forget to brush your teeth after (or before) breakfast every once in a while, and think nothing of it—but this adds up overtime! It shouldn’t be a surprise, but bacteria and plaque can be pretty smelly, contributing to bad breath.
You know when you’re at the dentist and they’re scraping away at the surface of your teeth? Usually, they’re removing plaque buildup. A little bit of buildup if you haven’t been to the dentist for 6+ months is pretty normal. A lot of buildup means you’re lacking in your oral hygiene.
You’ve got gingivitis.
Gingivitis is caused by an overproduction of plaque and biofilm, making the gingival crevices between the gums inflamed and uncomfortable. When this happens, it can cause you to have bad breath!
You have advanced Periodontal Disease.
One step above just a simple plaque buildup or early signs of gingivitis is Periodontal Disease. Patients documented with this disease have been found to have really, really foul breath.
What causes it? An accumulation of waste products from bacteria located in the subgingival area. Although the plaque and tartar buildup are really happy and thriving, your breath and overall gum and teeth health are in a dire state. Not so good.
You suffer from Xerostomia (dry mouth).
There are many reasons why people suffer from a dry mouth/Xerostomia, such as: smoking tobacco, not drinking enough water, or taking antihistamines. If you’re undergoing cancer therapy or suffer from a medical condition like Sjogren’s syndrome, these may also affect the dryness of your mouth.
Saliva can help to wash away food particles and keep your mouth at a healthy moisture level. By doing this, it also limits the growth of bad bacteria (the smelly kind). So, dry mouth = a nice breeding ground for bacteria.
You’re an avid smoker.
Speaking of tobacco, if you’re an avid smoker and find yourself with not so desirable breath, it may be time to change your habit. Smoking will definitely not help to fix bad breath. Not only can it actually cause bad breath, but it also stains your teeth, damages your lunges, and can hurt your gums.
You’ve got a sweet tooth.
Sugar and sweets, for the most part, smell good—right? They also taste good and even make us feel good. But, do you know who else likes sugar? Bacteria.
Bacteria in your mouth turn sugar into acid, which in turn can lead to some heavy wear and tear on your teeth, causing bad breath.
You have an esophagus disorder.
If you experience things like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux, one of the side effects is halitosis.
Not to mention, you’re more likely to be releasing gas (burping), which brings up all of those not so lovely scents going on in your stomach. You know, like the digestion of your last meal.
You’ve got tonsil stones.
These sneaky guys are actually a buildup of bacteria that can form in the pockets of your tonsils. Overtime, they will harden and form into what looks like small yellow tinted stone. If you’ve got big tonsils or chronic sinus issues, you may find yourself coughing these stones up.
They also happen to smell pretty gross (as expected for decaying matter and bacteria), which can of course lead to bad breath.
You suffer from some sort of systemic disease.
You could have great dental hygiene but still be gifted with bad breath if you suffer from something like a respiratory infection, diabetic acidosis, or hepatic failure. In order to cure bad breath in these scenarios will mean treating and curing the other diseases first.
There are of course more reasons why someone may have bad breath, but these are just a few of the most common suspects. Now that you know what can cause smelly breath, it’s time to dig into the remedies and cures!
How to Fix Bad Breath with 9 Simple Remedies
The majority of these “remedies” below are really just things that every person should be doing to maintain proper oral health. They are also some key ways to fix bad breath for good. So, if you’re not doing these already then it’s time to start!
Here’s how to get rid of bad breath:
1. Floss your dang teeth.
Your dentist says it, and we’re saying it too. One of the best bad breath treatments is flossing.
Food and debris inevitably get stuck between your teeth, and it needs to be removed on a consistent basis to keep your teeth truly clean. So, whip out that floss 1x a day and get to work.
2. Brush your teeth every morning, and every night.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be brushing your teeth 2x per day. If you aren’t, make it a habit—it’s worth it.
If you’re really looking for that fresh from the dentist clean, get your hands on a Brüush electric toothbrush.
With industry-leading sonic technology, 6 cleaning modes, and extra-soft bristles, you’re guaranteed to get a better brush with Brüush—it could be the cure to bad breath.
3. Drink lots of water.
One of the top causes of bad breath is dehydration. Not only is drinking water great for your overall health, but your mouth and breath will thank you! So, make sure to consume around six to eight 8-ounce glasses per day to help keep that bad breath at bay.
Drinking water helps to wash away food particles, and keep your mouth from getting dry. When saliva decreases, bacteria growth increases, so drink up!
4. Invest in a tongue scraper/brush your tongue.
Some toothbrushes come with a tongue scrubber of sorts on the back, but there are also tongue scraping devices you can buy. Or, if you’ve got a Brüush toothbrush, there’s a tongue setting just for this purpose!
There’s no research that proves that scraping your tongue will cure chronic halitosis, but it can lead to immediate short term improvements.
5. Quit smoking and avoid tobacco.
We mentioned this above, but one of the leading causes of bad breath is smoking tobacco. Putting all of the other side effects aside, if you smoke consistently and find yourself with bad breath, it could be time to quit.
6. Use mouthwash.
This one is pretty simple. Mouthwash really has one main purpose—to rinse out your teeth, gums, and mouth. Many mouthwashes also contain levels of antiseptic which helps to kill off bad bacteria.
7. Maintain a healthy diet.
Garlic and onion lovers out there—you keep doing you. Just rinse your mouth out and chew some sugar free gum afterwards.
For chronic halitosis, diet can actually play a large role. If you’re skipping meals or drastically reducing your food intake, this can surprisingly lead to bad breath. Saliva decreases when you’re not eating, which means bacteria growth increases. So, keep on snacking—but keep it healthy, of course!
And reduce your sugar intake. As we mentioned, bacteria loves sugar, so it’s important to make your mouth a less hospitable place for bacteria to thrive.
8. Reduce your coffee and alcohol intake.
Or balance it out by drinking lots more water. Dry mouth keeps coming up again and again, but for good reason. Both coffee and alcohol are commonly consumed beverages, and both of these dehydrate. So, think about cutting down how many of these beverages you have a week/day, and instead replace that with water or more hydrating fluids.
9. Eat more superfoods.
Another great way to cure bad breath is by eating certain foods. Although we talk about food getting stuck in your teeth and leading to bad breath, there are some superfoods that are actually good for your teeth (and your breath). Probiotics and chocolate are two things that can help make your breath fresh.
Probiotics help to reduce plaque formation and gum disease, and are also great for your gut. Some common probiotic rich foods are: yogurt, miso, and sauerkraut.
And then chocolate (dark, 70%+ preferably) which is antioxidant rich, helps to neutralize bad breath and help prevent bacteria from getting stuck to your teeth.
Next Steps in Your Fresh Breath Journey
As you can tell, halitosis can be improved with many at home remedies (that should really become staples in your oral health routine). Who knew that chocolate could help make your mouth fresh! Hopefully you’ve identified how to fix your bad breath by now, but if not, rest assured that most people should see positive results by following the above solutions.
And of course, for the früushest clean, swap your toothbrush for an electric Brüush!