Need a Mint?

Everyone suffers from bad breath at some point in their life. And despite it being common, it’s still, well, embarrassing. Find yourself popping mints too often?

In this blog, we break down the causes of bad breath and ways to combat them. 

First, where does bad breath start? It may not be surprising, but the cause of bad breath usually starts in the mouth. Bad breath can be caused by a variety of things, including your diet, lifestyle habits and behaviors, as well as certain health conditions. 

Certain Foods and Drink
Certain foods like dairy, onions, garlic and spices cause bad breath. In addition, drinks like alcohol and coffee can dry out your mouth, promoting bacteria that cause bad breath.

If you’re constantly snacking on junk food or drinking sugary beverages, then you’ll likely have bad breath. The sugars in these foods feed the sticky bacteria that live in the biofilm plaque in your mouth. This leads to an increase in odor-causing, volatile sulfur compounds. 

Poor Oral Hygiene
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth every day, food debris particles can get stuck on and in your teeth and lead to bad breath. In addition, if you wear dentures or retainers, food debris can become lodged underneath your dentures or appliance, which leads to unpleasant breath.

Also, it’s important to remember that odor-causing bacteria can develop on your tongue. Many people do not realize their tongue needs to be brushed regularly as well. 

Dry Mouth 
Saliva helps to wash away bacteria in the mouth that contribute to the development of bad breath. If your mouth is dry, odor-causing bacteria stay in the mouth and multiply. Fun fact: Your saliva production decreases at night, causing bacterial growth and that funky “morning breath” smell.

Smoking can dry out your mouth, which we just mentioned as being a contributor to bad breath. It can also make your mouth smell like an ashtray (yuck!)

Smoking also contributes to the development of periodontal disease, which can worsen your breath. We’ll also take this time to mention that smoking is bad for your oral and overall health. 

Stress can cause bad breath? It’s true. Stress can affect your body’s ability to produce saliva, which can result in bad breath. Also, stress can cause your body to release cortisol, which is a hormone that promotes inflammation. Inflammation can lead to increased levels of odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.

When you have a cavity or any type of tooth decay, sticky plaque and food debris (food particles and bacteria) accumulates in the cavity in your tooth and causes bad breath.

Gum Disease
As we mentioned above, gum disease can contribute to bad breath. The sticky plaque on your teeth can irritate the gums and cause pockets to form between your teeth and gums. These pockets can trap food and plaque and cause bad breath.

Other Causes

There could be other reasons you might be experiencing bad breath. These could include medical conditions like heartburn, gastrointestinal issues, uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, hepatitis, tonsillitis, chronic sinus infections, post-nasal drip and other serious health conditions. Additionally, certain medications can lead to dryness of the oral cavity, which can then lead to an unpleasant odor emanating from the area.

How Does Heartburn Contribute to Bad Breath? 

Heartburn occurs when acid refluxes up into the esophagus. When this happens, the acidic stomach contents come into contact with the lining of the esophagus. The esophageal lining becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to heartburn symptoms like discomfort and pain.

The burning sensation caused by heartburn may also trigger bad breath. Acidic stomach content coming into contact with the esophagus can leave behind residue that smells foul.

What is the Mint Hiding?

While you may be tempted to cover up bad breath with gum, mints or mouthwash, all those things do is mask the situation rather than treating it at the root cause!

In most cases, improving your dental hygiene routine will improve bad breath. We recommend that you brush at least twice per day for two minutes each time and floss at least once per day.

There’s nothing wrong with popping a piece of gum or a mint to freshen your breath in between brushing. If you do need a little extra help, we recommend that you use mints and gum sweetened with Xylitol, a non-sugar sweetener that is safe for teeth.

If at-home care doesn’t solve the problem within two weeks, we recommend that you contact us and schedule an appointment for a proper oral and dental health evaluation.