Brand SpotlightYour Healthy Family


Your Healthy Family: Causes of bad breath

Posted at 7:50 AM, Aug 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-28 07:50:21-04

If you think bad breath is only caused by the food you eat — guess again. There are many factors that can play a role.

Having chronic bad breath — or halitosis — is more than just embarrassing. It’s also a health issue. One cause of bad breath is bacteria in your mouth.

“This bacteria then metabolizes the sugar and carbohydrates; it’s the beginning of digestion in the mouth and the byproducts of the bacteria can produce a sulfur-smelling odor," Dr. Karyn Kahn, a Cleveland Clinic Dentist, said.

She says the best way to get rid of that bacteria is to brush your teeth twice a day and regularly floss. She says don’t forget to brush your tongue because it can also harbor bacteria.

Some other things that can cause bad breath — being a smoker, having a dry mouth, tooth decay, oral infection, or even certain medical conditions, like diabetes or acid reflux. Dr. Kahn said people with dentures aren’t spared from bad breath, and still need to go to the dentist at least once a year.

“The dentist will look for any sores in your mouth, they’ll evaluate the fit of your dentures, they can run it through an ultrasonic cleaner to clean any debris, and also recommend possibly a lab-fashioned re-line if the dentures are not fitting properly. All of this breeds bacteria," Dr. Kahn said.

If brushing and flossing your teeth doesn’t seem to be helping with bad breath, talk to your dentist.