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What Causes Bad Breath and How Can I Get Rid of It?

What Causes Bad Breath and How Can I Get Rid of It?

Halitosis, or bad breath, isn’t only an embarrassing problem; it may be a warning sign that something more is wrong with your oral health. As an experienced dentist, Benedict Kim, DDS, understands the impact persistent bad breath can have on your self-confidence.

To save you from awkward encounters with the people you talk with and to protect your oral health, Dr. Kim offers some insight into what’s causing your dragon breath and how you can fight back against it.

How your diet contributes to bad breath

One of the most common factors that contribute to occasional and chronic bad breath is the food you’re eating. As you chew your food, particles build up on your teeth and in your gum line. These particles break down and produce bacteria that give off a bad odor.

When you eat already pungent foods, like garlic and onions, the digestion process causes food particles to enter your bloodstream and travel into your lungs. When you breathe out, these strong-smelling foods are noticeable in your breath.

Notable triggers of bad breath

In addition to what you eat, how you care for your teeth and live your life can contribute to bad breath. Other common triggers of chronic bad breath include:

Poor oral hygiene

When you’re not properly brushing and flossing your teeth each day, you allow food particles to remain on your teeth and in your gums that produce odors. When not completely removed, these particles can develop into a plaque that irritates your gums and can lead to disease.

You also need to be brushing your tongue to get rid of trapped bacteria. When you wear dentures, be sure to follow Dr. Kim’s guidance for thoroughly cleaning dentures.

If you’re not following through with routine dental checkups and professional cleanings every six months, you’re at increased risk for developing bad breath, cavities, and oral diseases.


Skipping routine dental checkups and not treating cavities in the early stages can lead to gum infections that increase your risk for chronic bad breath.

Additionally, infections can become very painful and lead to abscesses that can turn life-threatening if they spread beyond your gums.

Tonsil stones

Tonsil stones are small stones that form from a buildup of debris and lodge in your tonsils at the back of your throat. The stones can attract bacteria that produce a foul-smelling odor.

Chronic health conditions

If you have chronic sinusitis or other upper respiratory issues, you may be more likely to experience post-nasal drip that contributes to bad breath.

Other chronic health conditions, like gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and certain metabolic disorders, can produce chemicals in the body that cause your breath to take on a distinctive bad smell.

Tobacco use

If you smoke or chew tobacco products, the substances can linger in the mouth and cause bad breath. Use of these products can also increase your risk for gum disease, which also plays a role in halitosis.

Medication use

Certain medications can cause dry mouth and lead to persistent bad breath. You may also develop halitosis if you take medications that release chemicals as they break down in your body.

Treatment solutions to eliminate bad breath

The first step in combating bad breath starts at A Caring Dental Group. Dr. Kim offers comprehensive diagnostic services to pinpoint the root cause of your bad breath. He performs a thorough evaluation of your dental health to identify signs of gum disease or other medical disorders that affect your breath.

You also need to stay consistent in your oral hygiene routine, using high-quality toothpaste and mouthwashes to kill the bacteria that cause bad breath. Be sure to floss between teeth after each meal to eliminate the buildup of food particles.

If you have early signs of periodontal disease, follow through with recommended treatments and professional dental cleanings to stop the progression of the disease and reduce your risks for infections.

To get help for chronic bad breath, schedule a diagnostic evaluation with Dr. Kim by calling our office in Cleveland, Ohio or requesting an appointment online today. 

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