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10 Surprising Habits That Cause Bad Breath

Can you do anything about it?

Bad breath

What causes bad breath?

There may be many things that cause bad breath. The most common causes are due to bacteria(s) producing a foul smell. Bacteria may also build in the oral cavity, the nose, the sinuses, the throat or the stomach and fester.

It isn’t exactly rare, either. It is estimated 50% of adults have bad breath according to Colgate. The root cause differs from person to person, but by creating the right habits, it may help to keep your breath fresh. If your breath always seems to be less than ideal, you may want to consider ditching some of these ten surprising habits.

1. Drinking Alcohol

Drinking alcohol dehydrates you and dries out your mouth, which leads to a reduction in saliva production, according to Livestrong. That lack of saliva cleaning out your mouth leads to more bacteria production, which causes bad smells (or tastes.)

2. Using Too Much Mouthwash

Mouthwash just masks halitosis, it doesn’t solve it. Mouthwashes with alcohol can kill too many bacteria in your mouth, which causes your mouth to overcompensate by repopulating more bad bacteria than you started with,” says dentist Dr. Kyle Stanley via email.

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3. Eating Too Many Mints

Mints mask halitosis creating a temporary fix to the problem. Research from the American Chemical Society found sugars actually feed the bacteria causing the disgusting odors.

4. Breathing Through Your Mouth

Breathe through your nose as much as possible.”Breathing through your mouth, especially when you sleep, dries the mouth and tongue which allows bacteria to form which can cause bad breath.” says Dr. Stanley.

“If you ever want motivation to floss, simply floss one tooth and take a sniff of the floss. The bad smell is the bacteria between your teeth that brushing alone will not remove.”

Dr. Frank Farelly

5. Flossing

We all know it’s a pain in the butt, but flossing is important, not only for the health of your teeth, but for the smell of your breath. “If you ever want motivation to floss, simply floss one tooth and take a sniff of the floss. The bad smell is the bacteria between your teeth that brushing alone will not remove,” says Dr. Frank Farelly.

6. Using An Old Toothbrush

Replace toothbrushes frequently and use a high-quality brush. “Old splintered bristles not only can be less effective at removing plaque housing bacteria, but toothbrushes may also be a breeding ground for bacteria itself,” says dentist Dr. Sam Weisz via email.

7. Medications

Certain medications can cause a dry mouth, which leads to bad breath, according to WebMD. Many popular medications list dry mouth, bad breath, or taste disorders as a side effect, so consult with your doctor if you think pills are causing the rancid odor.

8. Dehydration

Be sure to drink plenty of water. “When your mouth is dry, it creates a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive,” says Stanley. “Xerostomia (the medical term for dry mouth) is the leading cause of halitosis. By staying hydrated you will replenish your saliva and keep away bad breath-causing bacteria.”

9. Skipping A Meal

If you’re skipping out on dinner before meeting up with a date to prevent stinky breath, you might want to think again. Skipping a meal can lead to unpleasant “fruity” breath from ketoacidosis, the breakdown of body chemicals when you fast or skip meals, according to Colgate.

10. Smoking

Cigarette are damaging more than just your lungs. “We all know of the smoky tobacco smell, but it also causes periodontitis (gum disease), and this causes a foul breath, even after the smoky smell has dissipated,” says Farrelly.


No one wants smelly breath, but fixing the problem could be as simple as adjusting your habits, so why not give it a try?

If the problems persist contact your dentist to schedule a routine periodontal examination.

Call (301) 856-1200 To Schedule Today!

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