Phone: 616-363-3821

Bad Breath

What is the main source of bad breath?
Bacteria on the back of the tongue. Usually you cannot smell it yourself. Bacteria produce sulfur gas that smells bad when air passes over tongue. Additional causes include bacteria associated with cavities, deteriorating fillings, gum disease, and inadequate brushing and flossing.

How do I know when I have bad breath?
Many people can’t tell they have bad breath. The best way is to ask someone close to you. If you have bad breath and they love you and are brave, they will tell you. Other ways include breathing into your hand and taking a whiff, wiping your tongue with a washcloth and smelling it, licking you wrist and smelling it, or using unflavored floss and smelling it.

When does bad breath get even worse?
In the morning. When your mouth is dry. When you haven’t flossed. When you are overdue for a dental hygiene cleaning. When you have untreated dental diseases.

What if I am a “mouth breather”?
If so, your chances of having bad breath are greater because of having a drier mouth.

How can I keep my tongue clean?
Brush your tongue whenever you brush your teeth. Brush from the rear (as far in as you can comfortably get) in a forward motion. Try wetting the brush with a breath control mouthwash.
Scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper whenever you brush your teeth. Scrape from the rear (as far as you can comfortably get) in a forward motion

What about smoking?
Smoking produces bad odors that linger in the mouth. The mouth retains the smoke components more than the lungs. Even people who don’t smoke can get bad breath just from being around people who do smoke.

What about flossing?
There is a big improvement in breath odor when people floss correctly and regularly.

How effective are over-the-counter mouthwashes, sprays, and breath mints?
These only partially mask bad breath for a few minutes.

What kinds of products help with bad breath?

Products that actually eliminate odor-causing bacteria. We sell rinses and toothpaste's that treat bad breath effectively.

What is the best time to use rinses, etc. to treat bad breath?
At night right before bedtime and in the morning after eating breakfast.

What about gargling with mouthwash?
Gargling is better than just rinsing because the mouthwash gets farther back on the tongue.

What about chewing gum?
Chewing sugarless gum is helpful in treating bad breath. The mechanical action of chewing is cleansing, and this stimulates salivary flow, which kills germs.

Can bad breath be transmitted by kissing?
Maybe. Bad breath is caused by certain types of bacteria. Some people have more of these bacteria than others. Kissing may transmit these bacteria.

What about bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums are a sign of a gum infection. Gum infections are caused by odor-forming bacteria. Gum disease should be treated.

What about menstrual cycles?
Menstrual cycles are sometimes associated with swollen gums that can trap odor-causing bacteria.

What about tonsils?
Not a major cause, but large, inflamed tonsils that frequently collect debris can be a source of bad breath.

What about post-nasal drip?
This is where mucus secretion rolls down the throat and some of it gets stuck on the back of the tongue. It hangs around for a few days, grows bacteria, and smells bad.

What about odors from the stomach or lungs?
These are not common causes of bad breath.

What does it mean if the tongue has a coating on it?
Many people form coatings on their tongues. This is full of germs that can cause bad breath. The presence of such a coating means that you need to clean your tongue better.

What basic home steps do you recommend?
Twice daily:
1. Scrape the top of your tongue clean using a tongue scraper. 2-4 times.
2. Using a pea-sized amount of breath control toothpaste, brush your teeth, gums, tongue, roof of mouth, and cheeks for 2-3 minutes.
3. Spit out excess toothpaste, but do not rinse with water yet.
4. Floss between all teeth, including behind farthest back teeth. Then rinse well.
5. Rinse mouth vigorously with breath control mouth rinse for 30 seconds.
6. Gargle with breath control rinse for 30 seconds.


3303 Grand Ridge Dr. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Phone: 616-363-3821