How do I get rid of bad breath

During a dental appointment, the dentist can smell the breath of a patient from both their mouth and nose. The odor from the breath is rated on a scale. The tongue is commonly the primary source of the odor in the mouth. Dentists may choose to scrape the tongue and rate its odor as well.

While there are some sophisticated methods used to identify chemicals which are responsible for bad breath, these may not always be available.


The best way to minimize bad breath, avoid cavities, and reduce the risk for gum disease is to have a good oral hygiene regimen and be consistent. Depending on the cause for bad breath, additional treatment may be needed. Patients with bad breath caused by an underlying health condition will typically be referred to a primary care provider. Additional testing and evaluation will be performed to determine the cause and discuss treatment options.

Patients with bad breath caused by an oral health issue should work with a dentist to determine the cause and work to control the issue. Below are some of the common treatments for bad breath caused by an oral health issue.

Toothpaste or Mouthwash

Bad breath is commonly caused by a buildup of bacteria or plaque on the teeth. The dentist may suggest the patient use mouth rinse which can eliminate the bacteria. Dentists may also encourage the use of an antibacterial toothpaste which can help kill the bacteria which results in the buildup of plaque.

Gum Disease

Patients with bad breath caused by gum disease will likely be referred to a periodontist or gum specialist. When a patient has gum disease, it can cause the gums to pull away from your teeth and form deep pockets. These pockets can collect odor-causing bacteria over time. In some cases, a professional cleaning is necessary to remove the bacteria as it cannot be removed by regular brushing and flossing at home. In the event the patient has damaged or faulty tooth restorations, the dentist may suggest replacing the restoration as it can accumulate bacteria.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Habits

Patients should focus on practicing good oral hygiene at home in order to prevent bad breath. Good oral hygiene includes brushing the teeth at least twice daily with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. It is helpful to brush the teeth after eating to remove any debris. Patients should also floss their teeth daily. Flossing aids in removing food particles and plaque from between the teeth.

When brushing, patients should also focus on cleaning the tongue. The tongue collects odor-causing bacteria. Some patients benefit from the use of a tongue scraper or a toothbrush that has a built-in tongue cleaner as these tools are more effective in cleaning the tongue. Dentures and dental appliances should also be cleaned, just like the natural teeth.

Dry Mouth

Patients with a chronically dry mouth can be at an increased risk for bad breath. Patients should avoid the use of tobacco and drink plenty of water. Consume limited amounts of coffee, soft drinks or alcohol, which can cause the mouth to be dry. Sugar free gum and candy can also aid in stimulating the production of saliva. In some cases, the dentist may decide to write a prescription for a medication which can help increase the production of saliva.

Balanced Diet

Certain types of foods like garlic and onions can be more likely to cause bad breath. A diet which is high in sugary foods and drinks can also result in bad breath. Patients should focus on eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet.

Patients should replace their toothbrush about every three to four months or anytime it begins to show signs of wear. A soft-bristled toothbrush is best as medium to firm brushes can damage the gums and enamel.

Patients should also make regular visits to the dentist. During these appointments, the dentist will perform an examination and the patient will receive a professional cleaning.

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