9 Tips To Get Rid Of Bad Breath

Last updated on : August 23 2022

Tooth brushes


Bad breath, also known as halitosis, affects many people. However, unlike many other conditions, bad breath is noticeable and can be offensive to those around you. Being noticeable makes it a particularly challenging problem affecting many social relationships, employment, and quality of life. 

In this article, we'll be taking a holistic look at bad breath, from the causes to the ways to avoid and get rid of bad breath. So let's begin by discussing the reasons. 

What Causes Bad Breath

While dental care negligence plays a significant role in bad breath, it is not the only factor. Bad breath is caused by various factors, several of which can be present at any time. In most cases, bad breath stems from the mouth, although other causes are less common. 

Bad Breath And The Mouth

In 9 out of 10 cases, the odor originates in the mouth. Halitosis of the mouth is also called oral malodor or oral halitosis. Poor oral hygiene and a lack of dental care often produce odor-producing biofilms on the tongue or other mouth areas.

The good news is that volatile sulfur compounds usually decrease after successful treatment (an improvement in mouth hygiene through more thorough brushing of teeth and tongue and regular flossing), leading to a decrease in oral malodor levels.

The intensity of bad breath may vary when eating garlic, onions, meat, seafood, or dairy products during the day. Drinking alcohol and smoking also contribute to the problem. 

Tongue Halitosis

Tongue halitosis is the most common mouth-related halitosis. Bacteria cause bad breath on the tongue, producing malodorous compounds and fatty acids. The posterior dorsum of the tongue (the back) often contains the most naturally occurring bacteria, as it is relatively undisturbed by regular activity. 

There is a difference between tongue coating and the presence of bacteria that cause halitosis. It is impossible to see bacteria, but most people with and without halitosis have white tongue coatings to some degree. 

Gingivitis Of The Gums

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease in dentistry, can cause sore gums and bad breath. Periodontitis, the more advanced stage of gum disease, can develop if left untreated or particularly aggressive. Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes tender gums and bad breath over time.

Three-quarters of Americans suffer from gingivitis. In the beginning, it is caused by bacterial plaque, the creamy film that covers our teeth. Failure to brush correctly can cause our gums to become red and swollen and bleed easily. 

Periodontitis begins with gingivitis. Fortunately, it can be reversed with good dental care by a local dentist and home oral hygiene.

Dry Mouth

Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth, known as xerostomia. Besides moistening the mouth and neutralizing plaque acids, saliva also washes away dead tongue, gum, and cheek cells. 

These cells decompose if not removed and can cause bad breath. Different medications may cause dry mouth, as can problems with the salivary glands or continuous mouth breathing. Sleeping with your mouth open makes morning breath worse.

Tooth Decay

Decaying and rotting teeth due to poor dental care and oral hygiene are also significant contributors to bad breath. 

In these cases, there is also a serious health risk of bacterial infections spreading elsewhere and causing severe problems. A total dental extraction is often the only solution if tooth decay persists and spreads. 

Wisdom Tooth Removal And Bad Breath 

Tooth extraction, in particular, wisdom tooth removal, is a prevalent factor causing bad breath. Let's take a brief look at the reasons for this. 

Blood clots are commonly formed in an empty socket after wisdom teeth are extracted, and sometimes these clots dissolve within a couple of days. In this case, there is a condition known as dry socket or alveolar osteitis. 

You can get bacteria there, which can lead to an infection and bad breath or a bad taste and smell in your mouth. In addition, dry sockets are more likely to occur in patients who smoke, drink aerated drinks, or use straws after extractions. 

Following wisdom tooth removal, you may have bad breath because of the following other reasons:

  • In the days following the procedure, there may be excessive bleeding. It's another reason for your mouth to taste and smell unpleasant. 
  • The area might seem difficult to brush or floss early days after extraction because you do not want to disturb the healing process. Plaque or tartar can build up in this area and cause bad breath if not kept clean.
  • In the healing process, your medications can cause your mouth to dry, causing bad breath. 

Other Factors

In rare cases, the esophagus, tonsils, and stomach can also cause bad breath. 

Several other factors may play a role in bad breath. These include: 

  • Allergic reactions to seasonal changes
  • Infections of the respiratory system, such as pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Diabetes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Acid reflux and other gastrointestinal conditions
  • Lung infection
  • Liver and kidney disorders

Now that we've established the causes, it's time to look at the solutions to bad breath. 

How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath

Let's look at how to get rid of bad breath after a tooth extraction or for any other reason. 

Remember that dental care, including regular trips to the dentist, oral hygienist, and proper oral care, are the best ways to avoid bad breath. 

Although there are certain instances where lousy breath can arise from other causes, adhering to this will help eliminate and prevent bad breath. 

You should visit a dentist twice a year, but if that's not possible, at least try and go annually. 

Brush And Floss More Often


Brush your teeth at least twice daily and include flossing and rinsing as part of your routine. 

For some people, however, brushing and flossing twice a day is not enough, and they should try and do so after every meal. Since bacteria forming in the mouth from food is a significant contributor to bad breath, this will help. 

The length of time and technique used while brushing also plays a part. Take your time when brushing, and be sure to reach all of your teeth, your tongue, and your gums. 

Invest in a new toothbrush regularly too. Electric toothbrushes are preferable since they can perform the perfect, consistent motion to do the best job possible. 

Rinse Your Mouth Out.

Rinsing your mouth regularly, especially after meals, can also eliminate bad breath. In addition, mouthwashes like Listerine can help minimize bacteria in your mouth and your tongue. 

Besides mouthwash, however, rinsing regularly with water can also help. To assist with limiting bacteria when you don't have mouthwash, try warm salt water. 

Scrape Your Tongue.

As discussed, the tongue is the primary cause of bacteria and bad breath in the mouth, so you shouldn't ignore it during your dental care routine. 

Buy a toothbrush with a tongue scraper or include brushing your tongue when brushing your teeth. The more regularly you do this, the more bacteria you'll eliminate, improving your breath. 

Avoid Eating Foods That Cause Bad Breath.

We briefly touched on bad breath trigger foods, but it's essential to know the complete list. It's not to say you need to cut these out completely. Instead, you might want to rinse your mouth or do a quick brush after consuming them.

  • Coffee

It's well known that coffee breath does not have a soothing aroma like that of brewed coffee. In addition, because coffee contains caffeine and tannins, saliva production is reduced, encouraging the growth of bacteria in the mouth. 

  • Garlic

When exposed to air, the vegetable's insides produce allicin, converted into alliin. Garlic's distinct foul odor is due to the sulfuric compounds formed by allicin. 

  • Onions

Onions are flowering plants from the Allium family, just like garlic. Many sulfur compounds are present in both, and their compositions are very similar. Both by-products enter the bloodstream during digestion and are transported to the lungs. Consequently, onions produce a similar smell to garlic after consumption. 

  • Alcohol

The stomach and intestines absorb alcohol into the bloodstream when consumed. Alcohol is metabolized by liver enzymes and eliminated from the blood via the liver. As a result, a small amount is excreted in the urine. The blood, however, retains some alcohol, ending up in the lungs. Due to this reason, alcohol breath enters the mouth from the lungs, making masking the odor difficult.

  • Other foods and substances that can trigger bad breath include some proteins, sugar, and dairy products. 

Switch To Sugar-Free Mints And Chewing Gum

Sugar is a trigger for bad breath since sugar interacts with bacteria already present in your mouth. Sugar is also a leading cause of tooth decay, contributing to bad breath. 

As such, sugar should be limited or, if possible, wholly avoided since it has no health benefits. Sugar-free chewing gum and mints are a great alternative to the sugar versions. 

Since sweets and gum are in very close contact with the mouth, teeth, and gums for prolonged periods, the sugar can do even more damage than usual. 

Keep Your Gums Healthy.

Healthy gums are a great way to ensure great breath. You can keep your gums healthy through regular dental care, a healthy diet, and bi-annual trips to the dentist and oral hygienist. 

Stay Hydrated

Drinking lots of water will avoid dry mouth and help reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth. 

Quit Smoking Cigarettes.


Smoking is another culprit contributing to bad breath. However, there are many reasons to give up smoking, and a better-smelling breath is another good reason to stop immediately. 

Eat More Apples.

In closing, you might have heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it might keep the dentist away too. Apples can reduce bacteria, clean your teeth, and instantly improve your breath's smell. 


Now that you understand the cause of bad breath, you will also understand that there are plenty of remedies for bad breath. 

Practice proper oral hygiene and don't skip a regular visit to the dentist. These simple steps will help you avoid bad breath in most instances. 

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