What Causes Bad Breath?

bad breath treatmentDo you suffer from frequent bad breath? Are you curious about what causes morning breath? Dr. Brent Engelberg, your local Arlington Heights, IL dentist, helps solve the mystery of bad breath below.

Morning Breath

Morning breath is caused by a lack of saliva. As you sleep, your mouth dries out because you are not producing as much saliva at night as you do during the day. The purpose of saliva is to assist you when you eat by helping your taste buds break down food into smaller pieces. This makes your food easier to swallow and digest. Additionally, saliva helps you speak by making it moist enough for your cheeks, lips, and tongue to slip and slide around your mouth to form sounds. While you’re sleeping, you are not doing the activities that generate saliva production. When you wake up with a dry mouth, it can taste rather unpleasant, which is what many patients refer to as morning breath.

To prevent morning breath, try these tips: 

  • Drink a lot of water before you go to bed to ensure you are hydrated and that your mouth is moisturized.
  • In addition to brushing and flossing before bed, use a tongue scraper to remove additional bacteria and food particles.
  • Try not to eat pungent foods before bed, such as things that contain garlic, onion, or spices.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

The best thing you can do to prevent bad breath is to practice a strict at-home oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Chew sugar-free gum after midday meals to reduce the amount of food particles left behind on your smile. Rinsing your mouth out throughout the day will also help keep your smile clean as well as keeping your mouth moist. Drink plenty of water, and take extra care of your smile if you know you have eaten foods that are more likely to cause bad breath.

If you experience frequent boughts of bad breath, you may be suffering from an underlying dental concern. If your bad breath does not resolve after making improvements to your oral hygiene routine, drinking more water, and chewing sugar-free gum, you should mention this to your dentist. A constant bad taste or smell in your mouth usually indicates that there is an excess of bacteria attached to your dental structures, which may be the result of gum disease or tooth decay progression. The best way to find out what is the underlying cause of your bad breath is to schedule a dental appointment. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Engelberg today to learn more about your treatment options.