Why does my breath smell though my hygiene is good? (05/03/24)

In this blog we ask

  • Why do I still have bad breath even though my oral hygiene is good?
  • Does my breath really smell bad?
  • What is bad breath?
  • What are the causes of persistent bad breath?

Why do I still have bad breath even though my oral hygiene is good?

Bad breath is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, yet it’s a subject that most people are too embarrassed to discuss or ask advice about. We all know that the best oral care routine involves brushing, flossing, tongue scraping and rinsing but what if you are already doing that and you still have bad breath – or think you still have bad breath.

Does my breath really smell bad?

Our first piece of advice would be – ask someone to smell your breath. I know this sounds like it’s the most excruciating thing you could do but you may not have bad breath – you may just have a bad taste in your mouth or if someone else has it you assume you have it too. You could ask your parent, best friend or partner. Lets face it, kids are quite honest about things like this so they are worth a try. Don’t ask if you’ve just brushed your teeth, used mouthwash or eaten/had a strong tasting drink, just ask spontaneously. If you are told your breath does smell a bit whiffy, read on.

What is bad breath?

Bad breath also known as halitosis is a condition where your breath has a bad or odd smell to it. If someone is sitting very close to you, you should be able to just feel the warmth of their breath not smell anything. Bad breath can be an embarrassing condition and can cause anxiety in social, intimate and work situations. Some people even avoid getting into a lift if they think their breath smells bad.  Poor oral hygiene more often than not is the cause of halitosis but if you think your oral care routine is very good then there are causes of bad breath.

What are the causes of persistent bad breath?

  • Food stuck between teeth or inside mouth. You’ve been told by your dentist or hygienist many times that you need to floss every day. We may think we have removed every food particle from the mouth or between the teeth, but the chances are there are still some food particles lingering around somewhere. As these particles break down they release sulphur compounds which release a smell into your mouth and out through your breath. The gaps between each tooth will differ and therefore you need the right equipment. You could try Wisdom Clean Between Flossers or Wisdoms Interdental Brushes which are available in different sizes to enable you to floss between each tooth effectively. Drinking water after a meal is a good idea, give the water a good slosh around in your mouth before swallowing, this will help get rid of a lot of the main food particles.
  • Gum Disease – You may have a super oral care routine but sometimes with the best will in the world, you can still end up with gum disease. If your gums are red or inflamed, this is often a sign of gum disease and your gums will become a breeding ground for bacteria that cause bad breath. If you think you may have gum disease, please visit your Dentist or Dental Hygienist where you can get professional advice. In the meantime, use an alcohol-free mouthwash such as ProFresh to keep your mouth in good condition.
  • Dry Mouth – A reason why we suggested an alcohol-free mouthwash in the paragraph above is that alcohol is not only an irritant but it can also dry your mouth out causing bad breath or making existing bad breath worse. A dry mouth does have an official name – xerostomia – and this can create a breeding ground for bacteria. Saliva is our body’s natural cleaning process for the mouth and rinses away bacteria and food particles and if there is not enough saliva – then bad breath rears its ugly head. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medication so it is worth mentioning to your GP if that’s the case.
  • Sinus Infections and Issues – Sinus infections can cause post-nasal drip (dripping down the back of your throat – into your throat or onto the back of your tongue) and other respiratory issues. Bad breath isn’t always caused by an issue in the mouth and infection in your sinuses can cause foul smelling breath from the mouth. Post nasal drip (mucus) can sit on the back of the tongue and food particles can get stuck to it and that will attract bacteria. With persistent sinus infections it is worth visiting your GP surgery. In the meantime use a Tongue Scraper to ensure you tongue is clear.
  • Other Health Factors and Diseases – Bad breath can sometimes be a symptom of other underlying health issues. Diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, liver or kidney problems can produce a particular odour that can be smelt on the breath. For a breakdown of the different types of smells of bad breath and their possible meaning, read our last article on What Does Bad Breath Smell Like?

To ensure your oral care routine is the best in can be read our How to Use article which gives you step by step instructions on how to get the best out of your oral care routine and products.