What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Posted by STEVEN H. BRENMAN DMD on Aug 1 2022, 12:03 PM

Bad breath, or halitosis, is actually caused by bacteria in the mouth. When the bacteria are not removed regularly by brushing and flossing, they release odorous gases. These gases are the source of the nasty smell.

If you suffer from bad breath, you may find it beneficial to visit your dentist for an oral exam. Your dentist can rule out potential dental problems that may be causing your bad breath. If your dentist determines that your mouth and teeth are healthy, they may recommend that you try mouthwash or toothpaste that is specially formulated to fight bad breath.


Food is the most common cause of bad breath. If you eat a lot of garlic, onions, or spices, your breath may smell bad.

Also, eating fatty and sweet food can produce bad odors in the mouth. Foods high in fat, like cheese and meat, can cause the saliva to become thicker, which can make odor-causing bacteria more abundant. High sugar foods, like candy and soda, can cause the mouth to produce excess saliva, which ends up washing away bacteria.

Medical Conditions

Bad breath caused by a medical condition may be temporary or chronic. If bad breath is caused by a medication, speak to your dentist about switching medications.

Bad breath can be caused by a respiratory infection, sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and pneumonia. Any infection that causes inflammation in the throat and sinuses can cause bad breath. Sinus infections can also cause bad breath due to postnasal drip.

Bad breath can be a sign of liver or kidney failure, diabetes, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). So, get yourself checked by your dentist.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Many people experience halitosis, or bad breath, due to poor oral hygiene. If food particles and plaque buildup are not cleaned away properly, they can start to decompose. This decaying food feeds the bacteria below your gum line, which can cause bad breath.

Practicing good oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily, can help to clear away food particles and bacteria, reducing the likelihood of bad breath.

Tobacco Products

There are several ways tobacco causes bad breath. First, tobacco products can cause dry mouth. A dry mouth allows food particles and bacteria to build up in the mouth, causing bad breath. Using tobacco also causes an increase in the bad oral bacteria in the mouth, leading to bad breath.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth often occurs due to dehydration, medication side effects, or certain diseases. A dry mouth allows bacteria to grow, which causes bad breath. Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth.

Drinking water throughout the day and chewing sugar-free gum can help combat dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, your saliva glands aren’t producing as much saliva. Saliva helps rinse away food particles and bacteria. Without saliva, food particles and bacteria linger in the mouth.

If you wish to learn more about bad breath, make an appointment with our experts before you head out of town. Visit us at Steven H. Brenman DMD, 1311 Bay St, Staten Island NY 10305. Call us to book an appointment at 718 6502199.

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Steven H. Brenman DMD

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