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Bad breath is sweeping across Australia. A 2021 survey of Australians reveals that nearly three-quarters of Australians experience halitosis or bad breath. 

One reason why bad breath is so common is that there are many causes of bad breath. If you experience it on a regular basis, you need to know what these causes are before you can come up with solutions.

How can holiday foods, drinks, and activities contribute to bad breath? What should you do before you go to parties? When should you go to a Sydney dentist for help?

Answer these questions and you can improve your breath without breaking a sweat. Here is your comprehensive guide.


The leading cause of halitosis is food. Food particles can become trapped in between your teeth and break down slowly, creating strong odours.

Even if you digest the food, odours from strong-smelling substances can remain inside your mouth. Chemicals in your food can enter your bloodstream and then go to your lungs, creating stenches in your breath.

Many people have trouble with food and bad breath during the holiday season. Holiday foods like brisket and roast turkey contain spices and ingredients like onions and garlic that can create strong scents. Drinks like spiced apple cider can also have strong odours, especially if citrus and cinnamon are inside of them. 

If possible, you should avoid garlic, onions, and powerful spices in your meals. If you do eat these foods, eat small amounts and chew them slowly. Wash the food with saliva, which can dissolve carbohydrates and mask the scent of your food. 

After you’re done eating, you should floss in between your teeth. You can use floss picks if you find it hard to reach your back teeth. Be gentle and do not apply pressure on your gums, as you may cut or irritate them.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is another common cause of bad breath. Bacteria on your teeth can produce foul odours as well as plaque, which can make sewage that has its own smells.

In addition to flossing, you should brush your teeth twice a day. You can use an electronic toothbrush, especially if you find it hard to hold a brush between your fingertips. Find a toothpaste with fluoride, which can create acid-resistant layers on your teeth.

Scrub in a circular motion so you clean the tops of your gums. Hold your bristles at an angle so they don’t scratch your teeth or push against your gums too hard. 

After you’re done brushing your teeth, you can swish an over-the-counter mouthwash. Find one that can kill bacteria. Swish a small amount of the mouthwash so you don’t swallow it.

If you have dentures or Invisalign braces, you need to clean them on a regular basis. Follow instructions from your dentist and the denture manufacturer so you can clean them properly. 

You may notice you have a coating on your tongue. The coating may be a few types of bacteria that are contributing to your bad breath. Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to remove the coating after you brush your teeth.

Acid Reflux

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, better known as acid reflux, can cause stomach acid or fluid to leak into your mouth. Stomach acid has a very strong odour, and even small amounts can cause a significant breath smell. Acid can also dissolve the enamel in your teeth and inflame your gums.

Spicy, fatty, and fried foods like gravy and ham can contribute to acid reflux. Avoid eating these foods at holiday parties, and eat them slowly if you indulge. Pockets of air can become trapped between bits of food, applying pressure to your stomach. 

Do not lie down on your stomach while you are digesting, as this can make your reflux worse. If you experience significant reflux, you can take a medication like Prevacid.


Tobacco has a very strong smell, and it can damage the tissues in your mouth. You should quit all forms of smoking. If you’re offered a cigarette at a party, decline and offer a substitute like sharing some food. 

You can ease yourself off of tobacco products by using nicotine. If you have a strong craving for nicotine, you can join a support group or take a prescription medication. 


The human body treats alcohol as a toxin and breaks it down into different chemicals. One chemical is acetic acid, which can get into your breath and create odours. Alcohol is also dehydrating and inflammatory, so it can damage your gums.

It is okay to drink one glass of alcohol at a party. Avoid mixed drinks, as they often contain mixers with sugar that bacteria like to eat. You should also avoid drinking anything that has a strong odour or flavour like vodka. 

If you can avoid alcohol entirely, you should do so. Drink water, tomato juice, and holiday mocktails instead. You should also eat while you drink, as digesting food can slow the alcohol in your system down.

Dry Mouth

Not all people with dry mouths have bad breath, but a lack of fluid can make your breath worse. Water and saliva remove bacteria and mask odours. 

Drinking water can provide momentary relief, but you need to activate the parts of your mouth that create saliva. Hard vegetables like carrots and celery can force your mouth to make saliva, so you should eat them when you are at holiday parties. Try to eat carrot sticks or celery sticks instead of small pieces so you open your mouth wide. 

Bacteria in your mouth use sugar as fuel, so you should not chew on sugary gum and after-dinner mints. However, you can chew on sugar-free gum. 

Breathing through your mouth can dry your mouth out. Breathe through your nose as much as possible. When your nose is clogged, you should use a tissue to unclog it. 

If you breathe through your mouth on a regular basis, you may have a dental or health issue that needs treatment. You may have enlarged glands or a deviated septum.

Talk to a dentist in Sydney who can examine your nose and mouth and correct the issue. You can also get advice from them on halitosis prevention.


Bacterial and viral infections can affect your mouth, nose, lungs, and throat. Coughing can bring phlegm and foul-smelling substances into your mouth, contributing to bad breath. 

The cure for your bad breath depends on what infection you have. Cases of the common cold and flu may pass without extensive treatments. Other infections like pneumonia may lead to hospitalization or require medication and surgery. 

The best way to treat an infection is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Try to host family events and parties outside where the air can circulate better. Spread the tables out so people are not as close to each other and are less likely to pass germs.

When you go inside, you should wear a mask so you have less exposure to pathogens. You should also keep your hands washed and avoid touching your face.

Talk to your doctor in Sydney as soon as you become sick. Drink plenty of water, as this will cut down on your breath smell and help your immune response. Do not go out in public until you are less contagious.

Post-nasal Drip

Glands in your throat and nose produce mucus that moistens your nasal and respiratory linings. This helps you breathe better, and the mucus can destroy harmful bacteria. 

Post-nasal drip occurs when your glands produce too much mucus, causing the mucus to build up on the back of your throat. In addition to bad breath, post-nasal drip can cause coughing, difficulty breathing, and sinus infections. 

You can develop post-nasal drip during or after an infection. You can also get it if you have an allergic reaction to something like dust.

In order to treat your post-nasal drip, you need to treat the underlying cause first. While you are getting treatment, you should drink more water and take a saline spray so you moisten your airway. Turning on a humidifier and breathing in moist air can also help, especially if you have an irritated throat.

The Many Causes of Bad Breath

Strong-smelling foods and bad oral hygiene are the leading causes of bad breath. You should brush your teeth before parties and avoid eating onions, garlic, and spicy foods. You should drink water instead of alcohol and refrain from smoking. 

Infections and illnesses can contribute to your halitosis, so you should wear a mask to avoid getting sick. Monitor yourself for signs of dry mouth or post-nasal drip and continue to drink water so your mouth stays clean. 

When your bad breath doesn’t go away, you should visit a dentist. TLC Dental serves Sydney residents. Contact us today.