Bad Breath Blues – 5 Reasons Why You Have Bad Breath and What to Do About It


Have you been noticing a foul odour in your mouth lately? You’re not alone.

According to Wikipedia, ‘concern about halitosis is estimated to be the third most frequent reason for people to seek dental care, and about 20 per cent of the general population are reported to suffer from it to some degree.’

Not only is chronic bad breath embarrassing and detrimental to your social life, it can also be an indicator of a deeper issue going on within your body.

Here are five common causes of bad breath and ways to combat it:

1. Poor Dental Habits

The answer to your bad breath dilemma might just boil down to poor oral hygiene habits. The food particles that linger in your mouth after eating will fester into bacteria – one of the most common causes of halitosis. For optimal dental health, the Canadian Dental Association recommends a consistent personal hygiene regimen in conjunction with care from your dentist. Need to “brush up” on your technique? Visit the Canadian Dental Association’s website for a guideline on how to keep your smile free from nasty odour-causing bacteria.

2. Smoking  

Just one of many reasons to kick your cigarette habit to the curb, the reason for smoking related bad breath goes beyond just the smell of tobacco. According to WebMD, smoking causes harmful gum disease – a notorious bad-breath trigger.

“Smoking and other tobacco products can lead to gum disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. More specifically, it appears that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease, and also seems to impair blood flow to the gums, which may affect wound healing.”

If you feel that smoking related periodontal disease may be the cause of your halitosis, your best line of defense is professional help. Set up an appointment with your dentist and the two of you can set up a plan to get your periodontal disease under control, typically through regular preventative hygiene visits.

3. Your Diet

It’s common knowledge that the foods we eat have an effect on how pleasant our mouths smell. Of course there are the usual suspects – coffee, garlic and onions usually spring into mind when talking about food induced halitosis. However, you may be surprised to find out that other factors, such as a low carb or a calorie reduced diet can contribute to bad breath as well.

WebMD explains, ‘Bad breath in the low/no-carb sect is often caused by certain chemicals that are released in the breath as the body burns fat. They are called ketones, and entering into a fat-burning state of ketosis is the hallmark of the Atkins diet.’

For a quick fix, this diet-related issue can be masked by simply popping sugarless gum and mints into your mouth. However, this problem is best treated from the inside out; with foods that promote good breath, such as fruits and vegetables and healthy carbohydrates. 

4. Dry Mouth

A leading cause of bad breath is Dry Mouth – or if you want to get technical, Xerostomia. Described by According to Lisa Mooney at, a ‘dry mouth due to a lack of saliva in the body’ can be easily treated with a few simple home remedies.

‘‘When you suffer from this condition, an anaerobic environment is created in your mouth. This provides the perfect atmosphere for sulfur-producing bacteria to flourish. The release of these gases results in foul-smelling breath,” states Mooney.

The first step seems pretty obvious, but, make sure you consume at least 8 glasses of water a day. The best way to combat dehydration is through hydration. For social situations, arm yourself with an arsenal of sugar free mints and gum and consider amping up your oral hygiene routine. There’s no shame in bringing a toothbrush to work.

5. Obesity

This may seem surprising, but a 2007 research carried out by Tel Aviv University concluded that there is a strong link between halitosis and obesity. An article from outlines the study below:

“The study was done in Israel and included a sample of 88 adults of varying weights and heights. While at a clinic for a regular check-up, they were asked by graduate student Tsachi Knaan, a co-author in the study, whether he could test the odor of their breath and ask questions about their daily habits.

Prof. Rosenberg, Knaan and Prof. Danny Cohen concluded from the data that overweight patients were more likely to have foul-smelling breath.”

And there you have it – five reasons why your breath may not be as fresh as it could or should be. As with all issues mouth-related, chronic halitosis is best treated through professional care. If you’re suffering, do not hesitate to contact your dental office and set up an appointment with your dentist. After all, that’s what they’re trained to do!

Kristyl Clark