Have Bad Breath? Here’s Why and How to Fix It

Photo by Dana Weltman

Everyone knows what it’s like to have bad breath, and of course, no one wants it. No matter who you are or what your oral hygiene is, everyone suffers from it at least occasionally.

If you’re lucky, you might only be plagued with bad breath every so often, but some unlucky people experience it frequently. Although there is no single way for it to be completely eliminated, there are some tricks to keep it at bay.

What causes bad breath?

If your breath is smelling less than ideal, it could be for a number of reasons. One of the biggest causes of bad breath is not keeping up with oral hygiene. Not brushing your teeth and flossing regularly leads to a buildup of food particles and bacteria in your mouth, which can produce that unpleasant odor.

Another major cause of bad breath has to do with what foods and drinks you are consuming. According to the Listerine Mouthwash website, “After eating certain foods — like onions, garlic, certain vegetables and spices — odor-causing food particles enter the bloodstream and are carried to the lungs, where they affect the odor of your breath each time you exhale.”

Photo by Dana Weltman


Drinks like coffee and alcohol tend to leave you with bad breath, too. Coffee has a strong flavor and leaves you with a dry mouth, both of which lead to a bad odor in your mouth. Similar to coffee, alcohol lowers your saliva production and leaves you with a dry mouth, which can result in bad breath the morning after drinking.

If you find yourself not keeping up with oral hygiene, eating certain foods and drinking  lot of coffee or alcohol, making some changes could improve your bad breath. 

Drink Water

One of the easiest ways to keep your breath fresh is staying hydrated. When you don’t drink enough water and are dehydrated, your mouth cannot produce enough saliva. A dry mouth leads to a buildup of bacteria and a not so nice odor as a result. For fresh breath, keep a water bottle with you throughout the day and stay hydrated.

Use Mouthwash

Using mouthwash should not be a replacement for brushing and flossing, but it is a good idea to use it in addition to other oral hygiene steps. Mouthwash helps to further remove any food particles or plaque in your mouth which cause bad odors, and they’re usually a strong mint flavor to help your breath smell even more fresh.

Brush and Floss Your Teeth Everyday

The most important steps to having good oral hygiene and keeping your mouth clean are brushing and flossing your teeth. It is so important that you brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing twice a day makes sure any food or plaque is removed from your teeth. Any food left in your mouth will cause bad breath. In addition to brushing twice a day, you should be brushing your teeth for at least two minutes each time to ensure that your teeth are fully clean.

Clean Your Tongue

The bacteria that grows on your tongue is a major cause of bad breath. Using a tongue scraper or your toothbrush to clean your tongue will go a long way in keeping your breath smelling fresh.

Chew sugarless gum

Chewing gum helps with bad breath in a few ways. First, the flavor of the gum itself will keep your breath smelling minty and fresh. The act of chewing will help to produce more saliva and keep your mouth more hydrated. The stickiness of the gum also helps to lift excess food particles or plaque off of your teeth. While chewing gum is by no means a replacement for brushing your teeth, it can certainly help bad breath to an extent. 

Bad breath happens whether we like it or not. Whether it be waking up in the morning, eating a certain kind of food or not brushing your teeth regularly, bad breath is almost always guaranteed to be a result.  However, with a little bit of effort, your breath will be fresher than ever.


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