If you have bad breath after brushing your teeth, you aren’t imagining things. The minty freshness of toothpaste plus the scrubbing power of your toothbrush may not be enough to fix some underlying issues.
We have between 2,000 and 8,000 taste buds in our mouths, mostly on our tongues. With so many taste sensors, it’s easy to detect a lingering flavor – especially if you don’t like it. You may experience a bad taste in your mouth – even after brushing – because of these factors:
What causes bad breath after brushing teeth?
• Medication: Anti-depressants, neurological medications and anti-thyroid medicines can leave a metallic taste in your mouth. The severity varies for individuals. Talk to your dentist and your primary care physician about this. They can recommend a mouth rinse to help with taste and dryness.
• Women in their 1st trimester of pregnancy: A bitter taste is typical due to increased levels of estrogen. These side effects are temporary. Talk to your dentist and your primary care physician about this to see what they recommend.
• Acid reflux: Stomach acid can cause a similar bitter taste in the mouth if you experience reflux. Discuss your symptoms with your primary care physician and dentist right away if you haven’t already.
• Dental problems: Tooth decay, gum infections, and other problems can cause a bad taste in the mouth due to the presence of bacteria. Visiting the dentist at least every 6 months will help ensure you’re addressing any issues.
• Halitosis: Bad breath can also be a problem on its own. Bacteria in the mouth caused by food particles stuck between teeth can contribute to the foul taste. It’s important to floss, brush your tongue, and use mouthwash. Brushing your teeth alone is not enough. Chronic bad breath could be a sign it’s time to see the dentist.
• Nasal problems: The common cold, allergies, and other infections can leave a bad taste from the mucus buildup. Bacterial or viral remains of postnatal drip also taste unpleasant.
• Bad habits: Smoking or a poor diet can also lead to a bad taste in the mouth. Good oral health is the key to removing this bad taste and improving your health.
Bad breath after brushing your teeth may not go away instantly. It is still important to brush twice a day and floss your teeth. Remember to brush your tongue to remove debris and bacteria that can add to the problem.
Editor’s Note: Content updated January 2019.