Halitosis, or bad breath, can impact on your social and professional life.

If your bad breath is severe or constant, it can affect your daily relationships and negatively impact your self-esteem. Good oral hygiene habits and lifestyle changes can improve bad breath. In some cases, you may need to visit your dentist to understand what is causing your bad breath and address any health concerns. It may be a sign of an underlying health issue.


It’s pretty simple to pick up on the symptoms. You may notice that your breath isn’t quite right, or you may be alerted to the smell by a friend or colleague.

Some symptoms can be more severe than just an off smell. Your bad breath may hang around for a few weeks, your gums may be sore, bleeding, or swollen, you may have a toothache, or if you have dentures, you may be having problems with them. In all of these cases, it’s important to book an appointment with your dentist to discuss your concerns and look at treatment options.

Related Treatments

Your dentist will examine your mouth carefully to diagnose the cause of your bad breath. You may need one of these common treatments.

  • Filling
  • Root canal
  • Teeth extraction


Bad breath generally starts in the mouth, however, the causes of this problem are varied. They can include:

  • Poor dental habits, such as infrequent brushing and flossing
  • A build-up of food on the tongue, between the teeth or along the gums
  • A build-up of plaque, which can be from infrequent visits to your dentist or hygienist
  • Gum disease, tooth decay, and dental abscesses

A dry mouth, or xerostomia, can contribute to bad breath. Saliva helps to wash food particles away, so a lack of it impedes this function. Some medications, smoking, and breathing through your mouth can contribute to a dry mouth.

Excess alcohol consumption can decrease saliva production as well. What you eat can play a role in the onset of bad breath, too. A diet heavy in certain foods, including garlic, onions, coffee, protein, and sugar could contribute to bad breath. Bad breath can also be caused by infections in the nose, throat, and lungs, sinus and bronchial issues, and digestive problems can impact on the quality of your breath. Other factors such as stress, dieting, snoring, and hormonal changes can also affect your breath.

Get prepared

When you book at one of our dental practices for bad breath, you want to get to the bottom of it quickly. And clear it up as soon as possible. We understand. It’s useful to think ahead about what your dentist will need to know to diagnose and treat your problem.

Generally, our dentist in Vancouver will ask you about your medical history and then thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth, gums, jaw, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose, and neck. You may also need an x-ray, depending on what your dentist suspects might be the cause of your bad breath.

Your dentist will ask you some questions about problems you’re experiencing, such as:

  • When did your bad breath start?
  • How noticeable is the odour?
  • Have you made any changes in your dental routine?
  • Has your diet changed?
  • Are you experiencing any pain?


Bad breath can be an indicator of a health issue within your body. Common problems that can cause bad breath include sinus problems, tonsillitis, digestive issues, kidney and liver disease, and diabetes. Visit your dentist in the first instance. Your dentist may also recommend you see your GP.

Saliva plays an important role in our dental health. It helps to wash away food particles and bacteria from your mouth. If you have a dry mouth, these food particles linger, and bad breath may develop. While we sleep, our saliva production reduces, which is why we often notice our breath isn’t quite as fresh when we wake up.

Some spicy and pungent foods can be noticeable on your breath for at least two days after eating them. Onions, garlic and coffee, are just a few that we know can be detected on the breath.

Practicing good oral health at home can improve many cases of bad breath. A major cause of bad breath is a build-up of plaque on your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing can help remedy this. Make sure you combine good at-home dental care with a great relationship with your dentist.

We recommend daily healthy habits and regular visits to the dentist. For optimum oral health:

  • Practice good oral hygiene habits at home, including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day
  • Book hygiene visits with an oral hygienist or oral health therapist twice each year
  • Book routine exams and x-ray visits with your dentist once each year

Maintaining regular and effective oral hygiene habits at home can improve the instance of bad breath. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. A tongue scraper used once a day can be helpful. Keep up your water intake to avoid dehydration and reduction of saliva. Quit smoking, avoid sugary food and drinks and limit your alcohol intake.