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Causes of Bad Breath

Woman covering mouthIf you’ve ever gotten that anxious, not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or simply conversing with friends, you’re not alone. At least half of us have had bad breath (halitosis) at some time.

Our specialists at East Village Dental Centre, your Wicker Park dentist, want to help you avoid the unease and embarrassment that can come with bad breath by pointing out some of its causes.

Common Causes

•  Bacteria – Your mouth acts like a hothouse that allows bacteria to grow, and bad breath can happen any time thanks to the hundreds of types of bacteria living there. Also, when you eat, bacteria feed on the food left behind in your mouth, leaving a foul-smelling waste product behind.
•  Poor dental hygiene and gum disease – If you don’t brush and floss daily, a colorless, sticky film of bacteria, called plaque, forms on your teeth, and when not brushed away can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums. This condition is called periodontitis and can cause bad breath as well as a constant bad taste in your mouth. Also, dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or that don’t fit properly can harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles.
•  Food – Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and various spices, can also cause bad breath. After they’re digested, they enter your bloodstream and are carried to your lungs and affect your breath.
Tobacco products – Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and puts you at risk for a host of medical problems. In addition, smokers and those using smokeless tobacco products run a much higher risk of developing various forms of oral cancer.
•  Dry mouth – If you’re feeling parched, your mouth might not be making enough saliva, and if you’re not making enough, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as it should. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or by breathing through your mouth.
•  Medical conditions – Certain diseases, such as some cancers and metabolic disorders, can produce a distinctive breath odor caused by the chemicals they produce. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also be a cause of bad breath.


In addition to twice brushing and daily flossing, regular dental checkups that allow your dentist to detect odor-causing problems can help prevent bad breath. Call East Village Dental Centre, your Wicker Park dentist, today to schedule your next appointment.




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Causes of Bad Breath - Chicago • East Village Dental Centre
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