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How To Halt Halitosis

By Dr. Tina Mukai, Premier Dental Group HI Waipahu

Smiling older manLet’s face it—bad breath can be embarrassing. It can impact our professional and personal lives. We’ve received a lot of questions recently about bad breath, which is one of the conditions that drive people to our practice. There are many potential causes of halitosis.

Dietary Culprits

While onions, garlic and certain spices have health benefits, consuming them can cause bad breath. The tongue is very rough and collects a considerable amount of malodorous microbes. So it’s important to brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Doing so keeps it clean and prevents the bacteria buildup that causes bad breath. You also can use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue.

Gum Disease

Gum disease also can cause bad breath. If you haven’t had a cleaning within the past six months to a year and aren’t flossing your teeth you could have gingivitis or gum disease. Floss nightly, brush at least twice a day and be sure to have your teeth cleaned and examined regularly.


Tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco can cause bad breath not to mention increase your risk of oral cancer. Make every effort to quit; it could save your life.

Tonsil Stones

Some people have white rubbery stones that they notice lodged within their tonsils. They are called tonsilloliths, which are mostly composed of bacteria and debris that form within the crypts of the tonsils. Because these are mainly made up of bacteria they have a horrible odor and can cause bad breath.


Sinus issues like postnasal drip or mucous can cause bad breath, as can a gum or tooth infection as that means bacteria is present. We recommend that you see us right away if you  suspect you may be experiencing a gum or tooth infection so we can treat it. Over-the-counter treatments only postpone the problem; if you see a dentist, he or she will be able to resolve it.

Dry Mouth

Certain medications or other health conditions can cause dry mouth or xerostomia which can also cause bad breath. If you have dry mouth, there’s not enough saliva washing away plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Not only are you at high risk for a lot of cavities but you also could experience bad breath.

We usually recommend that people at least discuss this issue with their doctor to see if there’s any way to possibly change to a different medication which may not cause this side effect.

There are dry mouth rinses, sprays and gels on the market which can help by keeping your mouth feeling hydrated.

We find sometimes that people tend to suck on hard candies when they have dry mouth as doing so stimulates spit production. This practice, however, can cause an excessive amount of cavities. We recommend that if you’re going to suck on a candy choose one that is sugar free or contains xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that helps to fight against cavities.

If you have bad breath, we want to help. Contact us today for an appointment!

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