Hi everyone,

Did you know that if you’re not flossing daily then 35 percent of each tooth’s surface is not getting clean?  It’s the perfect breeding ground for the microbes that cause bad breath.  Believe it or not, 50 percent of the population has halitosis.  What can you do to prevent it?


Well, first brush and floss daily, and don’t forget to clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper (If you cannot find one at your drug store stop by my office and we will provide one for you).  Physically removing the bacteria colonies keeps them from accumulating and obviously this goes a long way to reverse bad breath.  Unfortunately, people do like to take matters into their own hands by using home or natural remedies.  But sometimes these remedies can backfire.


Here’s a quick list of remedies that are not recommended:

  1. Never use alcohol as a mouth rinse. While it’s known that alcohol can kill germs, excessive use can decrease saliva production.  You can also prevent dry mouth by limiting your alcohol intake and staying as hydrated as possible.
  2. Only use mouth rinses or dental products that have the ADA seal of approval. Especially effective are mouthwashes that contain chlorine dioxide, a substance that neutralizes the compounds responsible for halitosis. In our office we sell BreathRx, a chlorine dioxide mouthrinse from Discus Dental that is extremely effective.
  3. Change your toothbrush every one to three months, or whenever the bristles appear bent or curved.
  4. Follow the cleaning instructions given by your dentist for your mouthguard, dentures, braces, and other oral appliances to keep them bacteria-free and odor-free.
  5. If you must use mints, use sugar-free breath mints or chew sugar-free gum. Sugar candies and gum only increase your chances of cavities.
  6. Smokeless tobaccos now come in various flavors, even mint. This should never be used to freshen your breath.  Tobacco causes gums to recede and without gum tissue  your teeth will lose their structural support.  Tobacco is not only a major cause of oral cancer, it can also increase the chances of bone and tissue loss.
  7. No tongue piercings.  If you really want to keep bad breath at bay, don’t ever get a tongue piercing.  Nothing harbors bacteria like a hole in the tongue with a stud to match.  It’s just another hiding ground for bacteria to reproduce.

Oral Bacteria Causes Bad Breath

Overall 90 percent of bacteria originate within your mouth.  When pieces of food debris hide in the crevices and crannies of your teeth and the grooves of your tongue, it allows bacteria to break down.  It’s these by-products or sulfur compounds called hydrogen sulfide or methyl mercaptan that emit that foul odor.   It’s also this waste that causes your breath to smell bad.

As a dentist, all I have to do is poke around the pockets of your teeth, and the grooves located on the surface and the backside of your tongue to find the cause.  It’s not unusual for dental patients to forget to brush their tongue, but doing so can prevent bacteria from forming on surrounding surfaces.

Some Unusual Causes of Bad Breath

While some people assume bad breath is from bad dental health habits, there are other culprits behind why your breath may not smell so sweet.

  1. Bad breath can sometimes be an indication of a more serious problem. It can be a sign of chronic bronchitis brought on by an infection of your pharynx or lungs, or a gastrointestinal disorder such as acid-reflux or GERD.
  2. Sometimes the latest diet craze, like juice cleanses or an elimination diet such as drinking nothing but nutritional shakes can cause bad breath.
  3. Certain medications and prescription drugs can cause salivary glands to produce less saliva, resulting in dry mouth (xerostomia). When your salivary glands produce less liquid, your mouth can’t flush away bacteria properly.  Atheletes and those people who suffer from sleep apnea are prone to mouth breathing, another cause of bad breath.
  4. Some bad breath is directly caused by gum disease or other oral infections of the mouth, tongue or throat. All of which can be diagnosed by your dental professional.  Daily brushing and flossing is extremely valuable, but if you have infected pockets around your teeth no amount of brushing or flossing will make them go away without additional treatment from your dentist.
  5. Mouth guards, dentures, braces and other dental appliances when improperly cleaned can cause bacteria to grow in the crevices of these devices causing bad breath.
  6. Tobacco, or any tobacco-related product like chew, can cause certain bacteria to reproduce in your mouth. It’s the lack of oxygen that keeps oral germs thriving.  Smoking produces the right, oxygen-poor environment.
  7. Alcohol, or mouth washes containing alcohol, can lead to dry mouth. Without saliva to wash the germs away, bacteria can readily multiply.
  8. Certain foods like garlic, onions and other spicy dishes can contribute to a bad breath problem. If you also suffer from acid-reflux or heartburn on a regular basis, eating these foods may actually increase the frequency and severity of both issues.

A healthy smile and a fresh breath can make a big difference in both your personal and professional life.  If you find that the brush, floss and repeat routine isn’t working for you after a week, schedule an appointment with us, at Dr. Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD.  We can help you find the cause of your bad breath and provide the right treatment.  Giving you the best dental care is why we’re here.  Find out what a pain-free and judgment- free experience can do for you today. Call our office today at 248-356-8790 and discover the difference a great dentist makes!

Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790