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bad breath causes and treatment options at south airdrie smiles

Bad Breath: Causes and Treatment Options

Halitosis, also known as bad breath, can cause embarrassment and, in some cases, lead to anxiety. It is not surprising that there are many gum, mints, mouthwashes, and other products on store shelves designed to address this problem. However, it is important to note that many of these items provide only temporary relief as they do not tackle the root cause of bad breath. Various factors, including certain foods, health conditions, and habits, contribute to the development of halitosis. Dental professionals, such as Dr. Amrita Sandhu Gill dentists in Airdrie, AB, recommend maintaining consistent and proper dental hygiene practices, which can often alleviate bad breath. If basic self-care methods are ineffective, it is advisable to consult with your dentist or physician to rule out any underlying and more serious conditions that may be responsible for your bad breath.

What Are The Symptoms?

The odors associated with halitosis can differ based on their source or underlying cause. Some individuals may be overly concerned about their breath despite having minimal or no mouth odor, while others may unknowingly have bad breath.  Since it can be challenging to evaluate the scent of your breath accurately, consider seeking confirmation from a trusted friend or family member regarding any concerns you may have about bad breath.

When To Visit A Dentist?

If you’re experiencing bad breath, assess your oral hygiene practices. Consider incorporating lifestyle adjustments, such as brushing your teeth and tongue after meals, using dental floss, and staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

If you continue to have halitosis even after making these changes, it’s a good idea to seek advice from Dr. Amrita Sandhu Gill, a dentist in Airdrie, AB. If your dentist suspects a more serious underlying issue causing the bad breath, they might suggest referring you to a physician to determine the root cause of the odor.

What Are The Causes?

Many causes of bad breath initiate in your mouth. They include:


The incomplete breakdown of food in your mouth cavity can cause a bacterial attack, which causes a foul odor. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and spices, can also cause bad breath. After digesting the foods, they enter the bloodstream, which is carried to your lungs, affecting your breath.

Tobacco products 

Smoking causes an unpleasant mouth odor. Gum disease is also initiated by smoking and chewing tobacco. Smoking is the prime cause of all dental diseases, and hence, this can have a direct impact on bad breath. There are several reasons for this, one being that cigarettes have a particular foul smell.

Poor dental hygiene

Improper brushing and flossing can create bacterial deposition, which causes a foul smell. Plaque bacteria forms in your teeth, and this is sticky. If brushing is not properly done, then this can form a plaque pocket, hence causing your mouth to smell. The tongue can also catch up with the bacteria that produce this foul smell. Improper cleaning of dentures can also produce an odor due to these bacteria.

Dry mouth

Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors. A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia (zeer–o-STOE-me-uh) can contribute to bad breath because the production of saliva is decreased. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to “morning breath,” and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open. A problem with your salivary glands and some diseases can cause chronic dry mouth.


Medications can directly or indirectly assist in producing bad breath by contributing to your dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath. The chemicals release many toxins in the dental cavity that change the overall bacterial formation of the tongue and teeth, hence forming a bad smell. 

Infections in your mouth

Surgical wounds, such as tooth removal, can cause bad breath after oral surgery or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease, or mouth sores. Proper dressing is needed, or the infections can cause bad breath because they contain bacteria that mix with your saliva, giving rise to the smell. 

Other mouth, nose, and throat conditions 

Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses, or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath.

Other causes 

Diseases, such as some cancers, and conditions, such as metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive breath odor as a result of the chemicals they produce. Stomach acid reflux has a huge impact on the mouth’s odor. In young children, the culprit is the foreign element such as stuck food.  


Halitosis, or bad breath, can be caused by various factors, including poor oral hygiene, certain foods, smoking, and underlying health issues. Here are some general tips and treatments to help address halitosis:

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Brush your teeth twice a day, after meals, by utilizing fluoride toothpaste. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or interdental brushes to remove trapped food particles. Gently scrape your tongue to remove bacteria and debris that can contribute to bad breath. You should use proper mouthwash to keep every corner of your mouth clean.

Drink plenty of water to help prevent dry mouth, which can contribute to bad breath. Limit or avoid foods that can contribute to bad breath, such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods. If you smoke, consider quitting. Smoking not only causes bad breath but also contributes to other oral health problems. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free mints can stimulate saliva production and help combat dry mouth. 

Utilize an antiseptic or antibacterial mouthwash to help kill bacteria in the mouth. Look for products that contain chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride, or essential oils. Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to address any underlying dental issues and ensure optimal oral health.

If your bad breath persists despite good oral hygiene, consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying health issues, such as respiratory or digestive problems. If you have a dry mouth, consider using artificial saliva products, chewing sugar-free gum, or using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Proper understanding of the causes of halitosis is crucial for effective treatment. Whether stemming from poor oral hygiene, dietary choices, or underlying health issues, addressing the root cause empowers individuals to choose appropriate treatment options. Dr. Amrita Sandhu Gill, a dentist in Airdrie, recommends making changes to dental hygiene to reduce bad breath. By seeking proper treatment and making lifestyle adjustments, fresher breath is achievable for those dedicated to maintaining good oral health.