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Why does my breath smell bad even after brushing?

Almost everyone deals with bad breath at some point in their lives. But what if you maintain good oral hygiene and your breath still smells? 'Why does my breath stink even after brushing?' you might ask yourself. Our orthodontists at Village Orthodontics will give you the answer.

Why does my breath always smell bad?

Believe it or not, bad breath can still happen even if you brush and floss regularly. The five most common reasons for bad breath are:

Gum Disease

Gum disease can cause bad breath due to the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. As the disease progresses, 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 completed by your dentist to remove plaque and tartar buildup, along with thorough oral hygiene practices at home. In more severe cases, additional procedures such as scaling and root planing might be needed.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can cause bad breath because saliva helps to wash away bacteria and food particles in the mouth. When there is a lack of saliva, these particles can accumulate and lead to an increase in odour-causing bacteria. 

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

Certain Food & Drinks

Certain foods and drinks can cause bad breath due to their strong odours or chemical compounds. For example, garlic and onions contain sulfur 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, resulting in bad breath and bacterial infection.

To treat bad breath caused by food and drinks, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing 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 address any underlying oral health issues.

An Underlying Medical Condition

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

Treatment will normally involve treating this underlying condition.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see a doctor if you have bad breath that persists despite proper oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing. 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.

Adopting Proper Brushing Technique

Of course, our bad breath is sometimes just the result of poor dental hygiene. More specifically, it is the result of poor brushing technique.

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.

If you're struggling with bad breath or poor oral hygiene, it may be time to seek professional help. If your doctor or dentist thinks it might be because of an orthodontic issue, contact one of our orthodontists at Village Orthodontics today. We have seven practices across Southern Ontario to better serve you.

Visit a Village Orthodontics Near You

Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or your child, we have an orthodontist waiting for you at one of our seven locations across Ontario.

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