Healthy Teeth Great Smile

Do you have Bad Breath?

You might not realise you suffer from bad breath until you notice people gradually backing away from you with a wrinkled nose. Dr. Pavlina Fagan at Fingal Dental Surgery can help you to identify the causes of bad breath, and give you tips and hints on how to treat it.

Bad breath, also known as ‘halitosis’, can be an embarrassing problem- but few people will ever be willing to actually tell you about it….except your dentist!

Bad breath can be caused by a number of things; the foods you eat; a medical disorder that will require further exploration; smoking or tobacco products. More commonly, it can also be caused by an issue with your oral hygiene or a condition called Dry Mouth.

Some medications can cause you to get dry mouth, which means the saliva which is regularly released into the mouth to wash away bacteria slows down, leaving this bacteria to build up and start to smell.

Some medical conditions like gastro-oesophageal reflux disease; diabetes or even lactose intolerance cause stinky breath too, and you will need to have a chat to your doctor and dentist to see what can be done to reduce the offensive results. The treatment for bad breath will depend on the root cause of the problem.

Causes of bad breath include the following:

Poor Oral Hygiene

When a person does not brush or floss their teeth properly or often enough, food particles that are stuck between the teeth start to break down and rot.

This will cause foul odours, as decaying food promotes the growth of bacteria and the whole nasty mess just smells worse and worse. The bacteria will also lead to gum disease and tooth decay, which don’t smell terrific either.


Foods with strong odours and tastes can affect the air you exhale. Things like onions, garlic, curries, fish and some cheese can make your breath smell, as do acidic beverages like coffee.

Foods are absorbed into the bloodstream and then transferred to the lungs, causing noticeable odours when exhaled; some strongly spiced food may cause stomach and gastrointestinal upset and belching, which can contribute to bad breath.

The recent move towards low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets may also cause what is known as “ketone breath.” So-called “low carb” diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source, and ketones result which cause very bad breath.

Dry Mouth

The decreased flow of saliva can be caused by a variety of medications. Saliva is not only an important part of the digestive process, but it works to remove odour-causing particles of food from the mouth. Dry mouth is also called ‘xerostomia’ and might be caused by breathing through the mouth (if nose is blocked); salivary gland problems, or other conditions like sinus trouble

Dentures or Dental Appliances

Dentures or dental appliances, such as braces, can contribute to bad breath if they are not kept scrupulously clean. Food particles can easily become trapped, so if you wear braces it’s important to ask Dr. Fagan about the right tools to keep them spotless, such as inter-dental brushes.

Loose dentures can slip around in the mouth, causing sores or localised infections which will also give you bad breath. If your dentures are moving around and causing you pain, talk to Dr. Fagan about ways to help secure them.

Morning Breath

This is normal, and everyone gets it even if they floss and brush their teeth at night. Overnight, bacteria accumulate in the mouth, which can cause bad breath, commonly referred to as “morning breath.” Some people breathe through their mouths at night, which can cause dry mouth and worsen morning breath. Keep a glass of water handy on the nightstand and drink some whenever you wake up; it helps to flush away the bacteria.

To book an appointment at Fingal Dental Surgery call 01 843 0740.