Man with Unpleasant BreathYou can suck on breath mints all day long and swish with mouthwash religiously, but if you suffer from chronic or persistent bad breath, those popular remedies may not do the trick. In fact, most dentists believe that addressing the underlying cause of bad breath is the best, most sustainable option. Today, Brighton dentists Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat discuss a few common causes of bad breath, as well as some proven solutions to this commonplace problem.

Learn the Cause of Your Bad Breath

Most people experience halitosis (the medical term for bad breath) on a somewhat regular basis, especially upon waking up in the morning. Saliva production slows down during sleep, allowing odor-causing bacteria to build up in your mouth. Other common causes of bad breath include:

  • Eating foods that contain allyl methyl sulfide, including garlic, onions, and shallots
  • Eating foods high in protein, like meat, beans, and dairy products
  • Gum disease and its milder form, gingivitis
  • Dry mouth, which can result from a number of factors, including alcohol consumption, snoring or sleep apnea, certain medications, and certain health conditions like Sjogren’s disease
  • Illnesses such as respiratory infections and kidney disease

Fighting Bad Breath at Home

Your best defense against bad breath is consistent oral hygiene. Brush 2-3 times every day, preferably after meals, and floss once a day to clear out food particles and plaque from between teeth. Stay hydrated by sipping on water throughout the day. Water, like saliva, helps to wash the mouth out and keep it feeling clean and fresh. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless mints after meals are a quick solution if you don’t have time to brush, but the foundation of fresh breath depends on brushing and flossing.

When to Talk to Your Dentist

Practice the habits above for two weeks. If your bad breath clears up, good job (although you may want to mention it at your next regular dental checkup). If, after that time, you still feel that your breath has an unpleasant odor, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. You could be suffering from gum disease or have an undiagnosed systemic illness that needs attention.


Located in Brighton, Mass., Brighton Family Dental Group features experienced dentists and an excellent range of in-office treatments for every member of your family who needs dental care. If you’d like to learn more, you can schedule an appointment or consultation with Dr. Thomas Villani or Dr. Richard Kondrat by calling our office at (617) 562-5210.