Ugh, bad breath. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, 80 million people suffer from chronic halitosis, which is just a fancy name for bad breath. You’re not alone! Unfortunately, fixing bad breath isn’t always as easy as popping a mint into your mouth, but if you can identify the cause of your bad breath, then you can fix it.

1. Morning Breath

Have you ever wondered why your breath smells bad in the morning? Like most cases of bad breath, morning breath is caused by bacteria. Usually, saliva washes away the debris in your mouth that collects bacteria, but when you sleep saliva production goes down. That means it’s more difficult for your mouth to fight the bacteria that cause bad breath.

2. Food

Of course, food! You already knew that foods like garlic and onions caused bad breath, but when you go to brush after lunch make sure you wait 20 minutes because enamel is weakened after eating certain foods. Also, eat a healthy, balanced diet! Because it’s good for you, duh, and it’s good for your breath, too. Bad diets cause bad breath.

3. Dehydration

If you can’t quite figure out what’s causing bad breath, the solution might be as easy as it gets: Drink more water! Dehydration causes bad breath because when you’re dehydrated your body doesn’t produce enough saliva. Without saliva there to clean out debris, bacteria have the chance to grow and cause bad breath. If you aren’t drinking enough water while working out, this might be the cause of your bad breath.

4. Gum Disease

Bad breath is one of the symptoms of gum disease. Poor oral hygiene allows plaque to build up and that plaque is the perfect place for smelly bacteria to grow. Also, if gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems. Talk to your dentist to figure out the best solution for you. It might be as simple as brushing twice a day and flossing, or using a Waterpik Water Flosser.

5. Medical Conditions

If you’ve addressed other potential causes and bad breath persists, then it might be a symptom of a medical condition. In addition to gum disease, bad breath can also be caused by cavities. When in doubt, see your dentist! Other causes of bad breath include sinus problems, strep throat and gastric reflux. Although those causes usually have distinct odors. If necessary, your dentist will refer you to a physician.


If you’re struggling with bad breath or just need a dental checkup, come talk to Dr. McLaughlin and the team at Dental Touch Associates in Cedar Rapids. Nothing compares to seeing a patient look at their new smile for the first time!