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Why Does My Breath Stink After Brushing?

Posted in British Columbia, General, Orthodontics, Tips & Advice

Experiencing bad breath every once in a while is quite normal, but what if you maintain good oral hygiene and your breath still smells? You may be asking yourself 'Why does my breath stink even after brushing?'. In this post, our BC orthodontists share why your breath may stink, even after brushing, and what you can do.

Why does my breath always smell bad?

Even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly, you can still experience bad breath. If often find yourself wondering 'Why does my breath smell bad?', here some common reasons that may be behind your bad breath:

Gum Disease

Gum disease can lead to the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, causing bad breath. As the disease advances, pockets form between the gums and teeth, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria release toxins that contribute to foul-smelling breath. 

The treatment for gum disease typically involves a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. A thorough at-home oral hygiene routine is also key. In more severe instances, additional procedures such as scaling and root planing may be necessary.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth can cause bad breath as saliva helps wash away bacteria and food particles left in the mouth. When there is a lack of saliva, these particles can accumulate and result in an increase in odour-causing bacteria. 

Treatment for dry mouth may involve further investigation to determine the underlying cause. However, staying hydrated can help alleviate dry mouth symptoms and improve breath freshness. 

Food & Drinks

Certain foods and drinks can cause bad breath due to their strong odours or chemical compounds. For example, garlic and onions contain sulphur compounds that are released when digested, leading to foul-smelling breath.

Drinking coffee or alcohol can cause dehydration, which reduces saliva production and allows bacteria to thrive in the mouth. This can result in bad breath and bacterial infections.

To treat bad breath caused by food and drinks, practicing good oral hygiene is the main solution. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and going to your dentist for regular cleanings.


Smoking causes bad breath due to the chemicals present in tobacco products so tobacco users are especially affected. These can linger in the mouth and lungs and can dry out the mouth, leading to a decrease in saliva production, and also contribute to the buildup of plaque and bacteria.

The treatment for tobacco smoking-related bad breath involves quitting smoking altogether, practicing good oral hygiene, using mouthwashes or rinses, and seeking professional dental care to identify and address any underlying oral health issues.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Underlying health issues can contribute to bad breath by disrupting the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth, or by causing dry mouth, which allows odour-causing bacteria to thrive. Some of these conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Failure
  • Liver Failure
  • Peptic Ulcer
  • Intestinal Blockage

The treatment of an underlying condition is the first step in remedying your bad breath.

When to See a Dentist

If your bad breath persists despite proper oral hygiene practices (such as regular brushing and flossing), it's time to see the dentist. Additionally, if your bad breath is accompanied by other symptoms like a persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing or a persistent cough, it is advisable to seek medical attention from your doctor.

Proper Brushing Technique

Of course, our bad breath is sometimes just the result of a lapse in oral hygiene. Even if you do brush and floss as often as you should, poor brushing technique can still cause you to experience bad breath.

To brush your teeth properly, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line and use short, gentle strokes to clean each tooth. It is important to brush all surfaces of the teeth, including the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces.

Additionally, don't forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath while maintaining dental health conditions on a high level. The tongue does a good job at absorbing bacteria that cause bad breath, so thoroughly brushing your tongue is key in the battle against bad breath.

Have you been experiencing bad breath and been told that it may be due to an orthodontic issue? Contact our BC orthodontists to book a consultation at one of our four locations!

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