Why Do I Still Have Bad Breath After Brushing?

Bad breath happens to everyone. Everything from food and smoking to health issues can affect your breath, even if you’re brushing and flossing. If you have persistent bad breath, it could be a sign of an issue with your diet or your health.

Our team of dentists and specialists at Arden Dental Group offer general and cosmetic dentistry services, including gum disease prevention and treatment, at our office in the greater Asheville, North Carolina, area.

What could be causing your bad breath?

Here are some of the reasons you may still have bad breath, even after brushing:

Poor oral hygiene

Brushing alone may not be enough to remove all the bacteria and food particles stuck between your teeth and gums. If you don't brush properly and skip flossing, the bacteria in your mouth can linger and cause bad breath. 

Dry mouth

Saliva helps to wash away bacteria and food particles in your mouth. Stay hydrated, and seek treatment if you have chronic dry mouth.


Some foods like onions, garlic, and spices can leave a lingering odor in your mouth even after brushing. 

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions like colds, sinus infections, and acid reflux can also cause bad breath.


Smoking can cause bad breath, as the chemicals in tobacco can linger in your mouth and lungs.

Gum disease

The bacteria that causes gum disease can also affect your breath. Additionally, gum disease can cause your gums to bleed, which can also contribute to bad breath.

If left untreated, gum disease can lead to more serious dental problems, such as gum recession and tooth loss. 

The best defense against gum disease is good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings to prevent advanced gum disease (periodontitis) and ultimately tooth loss.

How to properly care for your teeth

Here are a few steps you can take to brush and floss your teeth properly:

  • Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles that can reach and clean all of your teeth, especially your molars
  • Use a toothpaste with fluoride to strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities
  • Brush your teeth after meals (at least twice a day) for at least two minutes
  • Use proper technique by holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and brushing in a circular motion. 
  • Brush the front, back, and chewing surfaces of every tooth
  • Gently brush your tongue, or use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria and freshen your breath
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove any remaining toothpaste and food particles
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or when the bristles become frayed

Proper brushing technique is just one part of maintaining good oral health. You should also floss daily, eat a balanced diet, and visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

If you’re struggling with bad breath and it’s been more than six months since your last dental exam, schedule an appointment to rule out any health or dental issues. 

For more information about gum disease prevention and treatment options, contact us at Arden Dental Group today to schedule an appointment.