Mystery Minute: What Causes Bad Breath?

Do you like a good mystery?  Are you the one who guesses the bad guy in the first few minutes of a movie or TV show? Solving imaginary mysteries can be a great diversion, but confronting the real life mystery of bad breath is serious business. There are many causes for bad breath, and all of them have some sort of solution. It might be as simple as skipping certain foods or popping a sugar free mint. We assess your breath at cleanings and checkups, and can help you solve any bad breath mysteries.

First Clue: Does It Come and Go?

Bad breath that only happens once in a while may be related to diet or brushing habits. Certain foods (onions and garlic are two prime examples) can lead to bad breath. If you forget to brush, bad breath may follow, as bacteria work on leftover food particles. If you watch your diet and brush after meals, you may clear up this bad breath mystery.

Second Clue: It is Accompanied by Bleeding Gums?

Gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease) can offer a clue in the form of bleeding at the gum line (particulary after brushing and flossing). Gingivitis can also cause breath odor, from the decay of food particles trapped just under the gum line. If caught early, careful attention to best brushing and flossing practices may reverse gingivitis. Your dentist can offer other solutions, if the gingivitis has progressed into periodontal disease.

Third Clue: Is it Accompanied by Tooth Ache?

Bad breath can be a sign of untreated tooth decay. Ideally, you will be visiting your dentist for regular cleanings, and we can help you catch cavities early. But untreated tooth decay can cause tooth ache, jaw pain, and bad breath. When a cavity is addressed with a dental filling, or other measures, bad breath may go away.