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Marchofthefox's avatar

Why does my mouth smell so foul?

Asked by Marchofthefox (787 points ) February 26th, 2011

I have been noticing a smell from my mouth when I floss my teeth. It smells just like rotting garbage! I don’t know what it could be. I brush my teeth three times a day.

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13 Answers

josie's avatar

You can brush 20 times a day. If you do not floss daily, there will be all sorts of bacterial biofilm between your teeth. The germs live, die and go to the bathroom there. No wonder it smells.

Marchofthefox's avatar

@josie Thank you for your answer! I have been flossing more frequently! Good thing I started before it got bad!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If you have a bad tooth or deep pocket gums/gigivitus then there will be stuff that’s hard to get at even with floss that will make a bad smell. Aside from teeth, do you have sinus issues? A sinus infection can smell like it’s your breath.

WasCy's avatar

When was your last physical? The reason I ask is because lung infections can manifest via ‘bad breath’. And no amount of oral hygiene will correct that. Other oral and dental problems, such as an abscess, can cause mouth odor.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, it happened to me once. When I brushed me my electric toothbrush I thought “Oh my God! What is that hideous odor!” Then I realized it was me! It was coming from my mouth. The toothbrush was getting out all the nastiness from underneath my gums. Or maybe it has something to do with all that projectile vomiting. You really have to make sure brush and floss after that kind of business, but I’m no expert.

Blueroses's avatar

A dietary change can cause it too. When my mom did Atkins’ her breath had the ketosis smell that reminded me of garbage. She started taking BreathAssure, which is parsley and mint oil capsules and that helped.

SavoirFaire's avatar

These are all good answers above, but you should also consider bushing or scraping your tongue to keep your breath fresh. If the head of your toothbrush has ridges on the back, you can use that to scrape your tongue. Otherwise, just brush it (without toothpaste) before or after brushing your teeth. I doubt it is tongue bacteria causing this specific smell, but it’s good oral hygiene all the same.

mcbolden's avatar

A good remedy is a Waterpik! These electronic super flossers are amazing! They usually are between 40 and 60 bucks and have several different attachments that shoot jets of water and clean below the gumline. You can get them at Wal-mart too!!

sliceswiththings's avatar

Maybe it’s all that projectile vomiting:)

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

Tonsil stones also make your breath smell REALLY bad…Open your mouth and look in between the crevices at the back of your mouth and throat….Food and bacteria can get stuck inside them and rot pretty much..They look like small little yellow rocks, they’re gross..If you do have some, you can remove them with a moist q-tip…Try not to gag tho..If they’re really bad, you may have to visit your dentist.

Seelix's avatar

I’m thinking that because it happens when you’re flossing, that you’re just getting rid of crap that’s been living in between your teeth for a while. It’s happened to me too, when I’ve started flossing after not having done it for a while. It should lessen with time. Floss before you brush, and use a mouthwash like Listerine as well.

Those above have also given some great advice – like @mcbolden said, Waterpiks are super awesome if you can afford one. They shouldn’t be intended to completely replace flossing, though – if you get one, use in addition to flossing.

Cleaning your tongue is also a great idea, as @SavoirFaire said. I’m not sure if you can buy a tongue scraper commercially – I got one from my dad (a dentist) that’s made by Oral-B. My dad is very much against the use of the scrapers on the back of the toothbrush heads – apparently they don’t do nearly as good a job as the separate scrapers (just one dentist’s opinion). But if you can’t find a dedicated scraper, using the back of your toothbrush or just brushing your tongue is indeed better than nothing.

@lillycoyote mentioned an electric toothbrush – those are also super good at cleaning around the gumline. You can get them nowadays for no more than $10 – I’d suggest, though, getting one made by a dental company such as Oral-B or Colgate rather than a cheaper one made by who-knows-who.

happyjessie123's avatar

Things that might change it is that if you obviously brush and floss, and use mouthwash, but if you use bad toothpaste, or don’t floss properly then it won’t help very much. As people have said, a tongue scraper can make a big difference. Also, check that if it isn’t bad everyday, only sometimes, then it could just be what you had to eat that day, or the day before. I.e (garlic, pepper) so on. Hope this helps but i am no expert!!

kstarrynight5's avatar

its most likely the foods that you have been eating. try brushing your teeth more thoroughly and invest in altoid mints which are very powerful.

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