13 Mar,

Bad Breath: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Sometimes, you may not notice you have bad breath. But when you become aware of odours coming from your mouth, it can make you conscious about speaking or even getting too close to other people. 

Aside from worrying about the embarrassment it causes, you’ll probably also wonder what the cause of your bad breath is —and how you can fix it. 

There are many potential reasons why your breath is bad. Some causes relate to lifestyle, while others may indicate dental or medical problems. Once you identify the reason, you can take action. 

This guide will discuss everything you need to know about bad breath, including treatment and prevention. 


What Causes Bad Breath

There are several potential causes of bad breath, many of which start in your mouth. Here are some examples. 


Your Diet

Strong-smelling foods like garlic, onions, and spices can leave lingering odours. These odours can become unpleasant. Crash dieting can also lead to bad breath, affecting how you digest food. 



Smoking dries your mouth and leaves an odour in your mouth. Tobacco products are a common cause of gum disease. 


Medical Conditions

Various medical conditions can cause bad breath. This includes colds, flu, other respiratory problems, tonsillitis, and any health issue that causes post-nasal drip. 

But bad breath doesn’t always start in the mouth, nose, or throat. Acid reflux is also a common cause, as are certain types of cancer.


Dry Mouth

Saliva naturally removes many of the food particles from your mouth that could cause bad breath. But sometimes, your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. 

Certain medications, such as mouth breathing, snoring, or ageing, are common causes of bad breath. 


Poor Dental Hygiene

If you don’t brush or floss regularly, your breath may suffer. A good hygiene routine removes food debris and plaque bacteria, leaving you with fresher breath. 


Gum Disease 

Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar in your mouth. If you have gingivitis, the early stages of gum disease, your gums may appear red and swollen. They may also bleed. 

As gum disease progresses, pockets form under the gums, causing teeth to become loose. Advanced periodontitis affects the jaw bone, causing it to deteriorate. 

Bad breath is a common symptom for all stages of gum disease. 


Tooth Decay

When the acid secreted by the bacteria that feed on sugars in your diet erodes the surface of your teeth, it creates small cavities. In addition to damaging your teeth, the bacteria can cause breath odours. 


An Infection

If you have an infected tooth or an abscess, it can cause foul odours. Infections can cause swelling, severe pain, and pus around the base of your tooth. 


How To Treat and Prevent Bad Breath

If your bad breath is persistent, book a checkup with us. We can look for signs of decay, infection, and gum disease during a routine examination. 

Cavities are easily fixed with fillings, and if any of the signs of gum disease are present, we’ll create a treatment plan. 

If the problem isn’t immediately linked to your oral health, we may suggest speaking with your GP. 

Here are some of the ways you can minimise or prevent bad breath:

  • Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated will help prevent dry mouth. 
  • Brush your teeth twice daily: Regular brushing reduces plaque and removes food debris. This helps prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and infections. 
  • Clean your tongue: Bacteria can build up on your tongue. Toothbrushes often have scrapers on the back for cleaning your tongue. Alternatively, you can buy tongue scrapers.
  • Flossing regularly: Floss daily to remove trapped food from between your teeth. 
  • Use mouthwash: Antibacterial mouthwash fights harmful bacteria and freshens breath. Using mouthwash throughout the day minimises bad breath. 
  • Quit smoking: Smoking is responsible for a range of health problems including gum disease, respiratory problems, cancer, and heart disease. We can signpost you to advice on how to quit.
  • Visit us for a hygiene appointment: We offer comprehensive cleaning services to remove tartar and descale your teeth. A hygiene appointment is also a good opportunity to review your cleaning routine and lifestyle. 


Enjoy Fresher Breath With Canon House Clinic

Routine checkups and visits to our hygienist will help keep bad breath at bay. Book your next appointment today.

Ask a Question

Get in touch with the Canon House Team to find out more about any aspect of cosmetic or restorative treatment.