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Marshall James Nev, PLC | Bad Breath FAQ in Richmond

Marshall James Ney, DMD, FAAOP

527 W. Main St
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 623-3761

Bad Breath FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Bad Breath

Q:  What are my options if I have bad breath?

A: All of us have bad breath at some time and this can be very embarrassing. Sometimes we don’t have bad breath, but think we do and this worries us whenever we talk to people. Many of us have Morning Breath” and do not want to kiss our partner until after brushing our teeth.

There are various causes of bad breath. The most common cause is the very back of the tongue. You probably don’t know it, but the surface of the tongue changes with new cells every 4 days.  This causes a lot of dead cells to accumulate on the back of the tongue.  Combine this with drainage from your sinuses and you have a breeding ground for bacteria and foul odor.

Q.  Other than the tongue, what else can cause bad breath?

1. Morning Breath

In the morning it is usually caused by a lack of saliva in the mouth. During sleep, the  saliva flow almost stops. Saliva has antibodies in it that kills bacteria. If there is no saliva then the bacteria multiply causing bad breath

2. Periodontal Disease (gum disease)

Deep gum pockets around the teeth. (periodontal disease) can trap bacteria under the gum this can be another breeding ground for bacteria.
3. Dry mouth (as mentioned in #1) also called Xerostomia

A decrease in  salivary flow during sleep can cause bad breath. As we age, our salivary flow slows down and many medications can also cause dry mouth.

So, a dry mouth due to sleep, age,  or medication allow the bacteria to multiply because of a lack of antibodies which are in the saliva.

4. Poor oral hygiene can cause bad breath

The bacteria — in the form of plaque, can build up on the teeth and gums.

5.  Dental cavities can cause bad breath

Dental cavities are areas of the tooth that have been eaten away by the bacteria producing acid which then become another breeding ground for bacteria.

6. Dry mouth

We have a couple of products that work for dry mouth. Call or come in and we will explain these to you. We also have these products for sale.

7. Other factors that can cause bad breath

Missing meals, dehydration and hunger can all cause bad breath because eating and drinking  cause a decrease in salivary flow which inhibits bacteria growth.

A common issue, as you can see, is the need for good salivary flow to protect us against bad breath.

8. Dieting can cause bad breath

Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat. For those with a medical background this is called Ketoacidosis. This can also be present in hospitalized patients on medication or are not allowed to have drinks.

9. Certain foods can cause bad breath

Common culprits are: certain foods, garlic, onions. All of these have the potential to cause bad breath ( but they sure taste good!)

10. Medical conditions can cause bad breath

Medical conditions like  chronic sinus  conditions, diabetes, cancer liver and kidney problems, bronchitis, and pneumonia.


How can I prevent bad breath?

1. Practice good oral hygiene

Brush and floss at least twice a day (before bedtime is the most important)

Brushing the tongue or by taking a spoon and scrape the tongue (Especially the back of the tongue)

If you have dentures or partials be sure to clean them at night.

2.    See your hygienist and dentist regularly for a cleaning

3.    Drink water frequently ( Water helps rinse  the bacteria away and keeps the mouth moist inhibiting bacterial growth.)

4.    Stop smoking or chewing tobacco products.

5.   Use  Mouthwash and rinses. 

Some over the counter provide only a temporary relief, kind of like trying to get rid of a rotten tomato smell by using a lemon spray…the smell may be covered up but the cause of the smell is a rotten tomato…you have to get rid of the tomato!!


Richmond Dentist | Bad Breath FAQ. Marshall James Ney is a Richmond Dentist.