Learn what causes bad breath and how to remedy it

What Causes Bad Breath?

Posted on 02 Jan
General Dentistry

By: Dr. Donald Gundlach

Patients often ask what causes bad breath. Bad breath causes more implications than just offending those around you. It can be an indication of improper oral hygiene techniques or even larger issues such as health and wellness concerns. 

Bad breath can be caused by something as simple as eating smelly foods, but there are also causes that may not be as apparent to you. Watch the video below to learn what causes bad breath and how to get rid of it, then read on for more details:



Causes of Bad Breath

Here are a few bad breath causes, along with remedies to help alleviate unfriendly odors.

Cause of bad breath: food particles

Leftover food between your teeth promotes bacterial growth and lingering odors. Eating foods with strong scents such as garlic and onions also contribute to prolonged bad breath. 

In general, make sure to brush and floss twice a day to keep your mouth clean. Brushing after eating also helps remove those food particles that stick between your teeth—especially if you’ve recently eaten smelly foods. Brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper helps remove additional bacteria, as does using antibacterial mouth rinse and toothpaste. 

Cause of bad breath: dry mouth

An overall lack of saliva is the biggest cause of bad breath. Saliva helps rinse out food particles from your mouth, so if you have dry mouth, those food particles are hanging around for longer than they should be. Certain medications also have the side effect of dry mouth.

The best way to remedy a dry mouth is to drink water to keep your mouth moist. You can also chew sugar-free gum to encourage the production of saliva. An antibacterial mouth rinse and toothpaste is a great way to rinse away cavity-causing bacteria. 

If you’re taking a medication that has the side effect of dry mouth, consider asking your doctor if there is an alternative medication without the side effect of dry mouth. If there isn’t an alternative, then try to drink water often to keep your mouth moist.

Cause of bad breath: oral infections 

If you brush and floss your teeth every day but still notice that your breath doesn’t stay fresh for long, you may have an underlying medical condition.

Visit the dentist to check whether you have periodontitis and discuss other causes of halitosis. You may have an undiagnosed or underlying medical condition like diabetes, head or lung infections, acid reflux, and other illnesses.

Cause of bad breath: ill-fitting dentures

Food particles love nooks and crannies. When dentures don’t fit well, there are plenty of spaces for food to hang out after eating.

Getting your dentures adjusted helps keep food particles out of those hard-to-reach areas. If you can’t get your dentures adjusted right away, then rinse your mouth as soon after eating as possible. This will help keep bacteria-causing food particles at bay until you are able to make an appointment to get your dentures adjusted.

Chewing Tobacco Causes Bad Breath 

In general, chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes cause bad breath among many other oral and overall health issues. It’s best to avoid these products for a healthy and fresh mouth and to prevent health issues including high blood pressure and oral cancer.

Keeping you healthy is our number one priority, and our caring dentists can help you improve your oral health. If you wonder what is causing your bad breath, request an appointment below to schedule an appointment today!

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Meet Dr. Donald Gundlach

Dr. Gundlach is a general dentist at Dental Associates Sturtevant. Get to know Dr. Donald Gundlach by visiting his profile page on DentalAssociates.com. 

Visit him here: General Dentist Donald Gundlach


More information about bad breath from Dental Associates

Bad Breath

Dentures: Care & Cleaning