Five causes of bad breath and five solutions

Nutrition & fitness / Bienestar Sanitas Magazine Ed.133.

Five causes of bad breath and five solutions

The alarm goes off, another day begins. You stretch, take a deep breath and .... ugh, that stinks! Food is almost always the culprit for bad breath, but a large number of people find that they have bad breath throughout the day, and it has nothing to do with natural chemistry. Here are the primary causes of bad breath, and some possible solutions.

Bad hygiene
We tend to blame it on our stomachs, but actually, 90% of the time, the source of bad breath is in your mouth, says Dr. Fernando Barriga, dentist at the Unidad Médica Cecimin. If you don't keep up with your oral hygiene, the bacteria in your mouth can start to break down the hidden food stuck between your teeth or on your tongue, emitting smelly gases. It's estimated that in less than half an inch of tongue there are over one hundred bacteria, and over four inches of your tongue there can be as many as one thousand bacteria. This is why it is important to clean the tongue all the way to the back. A clean and healthy tongue should always be pink; white and yellow are signs of problems. Lack of saliva. Saliva is useful not only for helping with breaking down food, it also helps to lubricate your mouth and fight against germs. Just like a disinfectant, the more saliva that's produced, the more aseptic and fresh your mouth will be.

Dental prostheses  

Bridges, orthodontics, and fixed or removable prostheses, and even fillings that are in bad shape can make it difficult to remove all the food from your mouth with a toothbrush. Though there are many solutions available (e.g., flossers, toothpicks, creams, and brushes) that adjust to every need, none of them will work unless they are used properly. Your dentist can tell you which products you should be using.


An abscess, sinusitis, or bacterial tonsillitis, as well as pain, fever, and other problems, can cause bad breath. Other chronic illnesses such as late-stage diabetes, kidney failure, or cancer can also sometimes cause bad breath for patients.

Certain foods

Obviously eating garlic, onion, coffee, sardines, and strong-tasting sauces can cause a distinct smell as they are being absorbed through your intestinal tract, which can last up to 72 hours. The alternative is to reduce your consumption of these foods, or keep some space between you and the person you're talking to. Smoking can also cause a distinct smell, which can even mask bad breath, but the solution to this problem is complicated, because nicotine accumulates on the surface of your teeth, gums, and tongue. It also increases bacterial growth, because it prevents tissue from being well oxygenated.

A breath of fresh air

  • Keep your teeth clean, by brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash
  • Breakfast. In addition to giving you energy, it eliminates bad breath from the night before.
  • Hydration. Drinking plenty of water during the day keeps germs under control.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Eating fruits and veggies increases the natural bacteria in your mouth, to help fight against germs.
  • See your dentist. Professional check-ups and cleaning every six months are important for the removal of bad-breath causing plaque and tartar.