Understanding the link between bad breath and winter



Published Jun 11, 2024


In winter, many people find themselves facing a common yet embarrassing issue: bad breath. This seasonal phenomenon has left experts curious about the reasons behind its prevalence during the colder months.

Bad breath, scientifically known as halitosis, can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor oral hygiene, certain foods, and health conditions. However, during winter, several interconnected reasons can exacerbate this issue.

A primary reason for the increase in bad breath during winter is the tendency to drink less water. In the chilly weather, people often opt for hot beverages such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to stay warm, neglecting the importance of staying hydrated.

As such, dehydration causes a dry mouth, where odour-causing bacteria can multiply.

Moreover, the lack of humidity in the air during winter can also contribute to bad breath. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, leading to dryness in the mouth and throat.

This dry environment allows bacteria to thrive and produce foul-smelling compounds, resulting in unpleasant breath.

Additionally, people in general tend to indulge in rich, savoury foods during the cold season, such as garlic-laden dishes and hearty stews. These flavourful foods can leave lingering odours in the mouth, adding to the prevalence of bad breath.

To remove any plaque or food debris from your teeth and gums brush at least twice per day. Picture: Tima Miroshnichenko pexels

Dental experts recommend some simple strategies to combat bad breath during winter. Firstly, maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly, becomes even more crucial in the colder months.

Drinking an adequate amount of water, despite the decreased thirst cues in the cold, is essential to keep the mouth moist and reduce bacterial growth. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help stimulate saliva production and freshen breath.

To address this concern, Warrnambool Smile Dental provides nine ways to combat bad breath not only during winter but throughout the year as well.

Brush and floss

To remove any plaque or food debris from your teeth and gums brush at least twice per day. Also, brush your teeth before going to bed, and as an extra precaution, brush with baking soda.

Baking soda lowers acidity, making it difficult for bacteria to grow. Brushing does not always remove food particles that have become caught between the teeth, therefore flossing is necessary.

These food particles produce bad breath because bacteria feed on them.

Scrape the tongue

Often residual food particles on the tongue cause a foul smell in your mouth. Invest in the tool called a tongue scraper – it is inexpensive but very effective. In case you do not have one, brush your tongue with your toothbrush.

Green tea

According to a study conducted by the University of Illinois, Chicago, green tea contains components that suppress and fight microorganisms in the mouth. You can add a cinnamon stick to your green tea to combat odours.

Snack between meals

In between meals snack on fresh, crispy vegetables and fruits like apple and celery sticks. This will increase saliva flow and aid in the removal of bacteria from the tongue, gums, and teeth, which causes bad breath.

Also, it will take care of your empty stomach, which releases acids that also cause bad breath.

Do not smoke

Tobacco dries your mouth and leaves an unpleasant smell even after brushing your teeth. So quit smoking or chewing on tobacco.

Care for your dental devices

All of your dental equipment should be cleaned and maintained because they tend to accumulate food particles. This frequently develops a breeding ground for bacteria, which can eventually infect your mouth.

So, as you clean your mouth, make sure you also clean your gadgets.

Sugarless candy

This is never a permanent solution but for emergency purposes this is good. Chewing on sugarless candy or gum will increase your saliva flow, which will watch the bacteria and food debris causing the bad breath.

A dentist is the best person to identify the cause of your bad breath and help you in mitigating the problem. Do not be embarrassed to talk about it, because it can often be a symptom of some other issues.