There are a number of causes of bad breath including dehydration, lifestyle habits and bacterial build-up.
Morning Mouth: During the night our saliva levels greatly reduce. Saliva acts to cleanse and moisturise the mouth, and without it you will experience bad breath. Morning mouth is a common and normal type of bad breath. With reduced saliva your mouth becomes more dry, and so the odour-causing bacteria tend to build up. Drinking water along with brushing and flossing your teeth first thing in the morning can usually solve this problem.
Poor Oral Hygiene: Infrequent or improper brushing and flossing can leave food particles stuck around your teeth and tongue which start to decay and emit bad odours. Left for longer than a few days, this food debris will be converted by bacteria to acid that will degrade the tooth causing decay (also known as dental caries). Ultimately, a cavity will form and may cause pain. Please refer to our detailed information on keeping your mouth healthy for advice on this topic.
Dry Mouth and Dehydration: If you are not producing enough saliva (due to medications, mouth breathing, not drinking enough water, or other factors), it will be more difficult to rinse your mouth of food particles which will be converted by bacteria to acid. We recommend that you drink plenty (6-8 glasses) of water per day to optimise your salivary flow. For patients suffering from chronic dry mouth (also known as xerostomia), we recommend a regime of sipping on water, salivary substitutes (e.g. Biotene), mouth washes and gels to help improve the moisture in your mouth.
Smoking and Tobacco Use: Tobacco causes its own form of bad breath due to a combination of dry mouth, the scent of the tobacco itself, bacteria build up and tongue coating. We can offer support on reducing the quantity and frequency of your smoking. We ultimately advise patients to quit smoking as it has many relevant health risks.
Infections: Bad breath can be a sign of infections in the mouth such a periodontal disease (gum disease) or dental decay (caries). In addition, bad breath could also be a sign of throat, sinus or lung infections. Please make an appointment with our team if you believe you have an infection brewing.
Certain Foods and Drinks: There are foods which are known to cause unpleasant odours in the mouth such as: coffee, alcohol, onions and garlic. Reducing these foods, using mouthwash and practising optimum at-home care will reduce their effect on your breath.