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Everyone has experienced bad breath a time or twenty or knows someone who deals with halitosis, which is another word for bad breath.  It is also a polite way of saying, “Your breath is super rank.”

Rank breath affects approximately 30% of people around the world.  The bad breath odor is usually caused by a group of anaerobic, sulfur-producing bacteria that breed beneath the surface of the tongue and often in the throat and tonsil area.  These bacteria occur naturally in your oral environment and are supposed to be there because they assist your digestion by breaking down proteins into amino acids.  Proteins are commonly found in food, mucus or phlegm, blood and in diseased oral tissue.

When bad breath bacteria feast on proteins in your mouth, sulfur compounds are released from the back of your tongue and throat.  The bacteria excrete waste and other odorous, bad tasting compounds known as volatile sulfur compounds.  As long as this process of anaerobic bacteria feeding on proteins and excreting volatile sulfur compounds continues unchecked, your breath will become worse and worse.

Remember that, once your breath is rank, it is not going to all of a sudden smell great in ten minutes.  You will need to brush your teeth or assume anyone within three feet of you will later be talking about how bad your breath smells because people always tell other people about a run in with someone with bad breath.

So, what could be causing my rank breath?

Dry mouth.

A dry mouth, which is usually caused by long periods of speaking, smoking, drinking alcohol or snoring, is the mecca for anaerobic bacteria reproduction.

Smoker’s breath is the worst!


Onions and garlic are obviously not breath mints, but they make your breath smell bad because they contain sulfur compounds.  Dairy, meat and fish contain dense proteins, which are used as a food source by the anaerobic, sulfur-producing bacteria that cause bad breath.  Refined and processed sugars also provide a food source for bacteria.  Coffee and juices can contribute to bad breath because they are acidic and provide the bacteria with an ideal breeding environment.

I guess, I will have, ummmm, a water?

Poor dental hygiene.

If you say “YOLO” when it comes to dental hygiene, it will lead to gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, which can cause halitosis because the proteins from bleeding gums and diseased oral tissue provide fuel to odor-causing bacteria.

It is important to not say “YOLO” to dental hygiene. 

Illness and disease.

Individuals who suffer from diabetes, lung disease, kidney disease, cancer, liver disease, respiratory tract infections or metabolic disorders often experience chronic bad breath due to dry mouth. Sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, post nasal drip and polyps affect the airways and may cause halitosis.  Certain drugs such as antidepressants, high blood pressure medications and antihistamines can cause bad breath because they reduce saliva production.

Make sure to carry a toothbrush on you!

Okay, so how can I fix my rank breath?

  1. Eat foods rich in fiber.
  2. Use mouthwash.
  3. Drink green and black teas.
  4. Avoid drying medication.
  5. Avoid products with sodium lauryl sulfate or alcohol.
  6. Clean your mouth after eating meat, fish or dairy products.
  7. Stop smoking.
  8. Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth.
  9. Drink water.
  10. Clean your dentures at least once a day.
  11. Eliminate dairy products from your diet.
  12. Use an oral probiotic.

Happy brushing!