What Causes Bad Breath And What To Do About It?

Oral Health and Bad Breath

Bad breath can really make a social scene stink, both literally and figuratively. Bad breath, also referred to as halitosis, is commonly a result of poor oral health. However, bad breath may also be caused by other unhealthy lifestyle habits or an underlying health condition. In this article we will discuss what you need to know about bad breath and how to combat it.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Causes of Bad Breath Inner Image

Food habits and digestive issues

The foods we eat play a large role in our oral health, including the way our breath smells. Foods like onions, garlic, spices, and some vegetables for instance can leave a strong odor within your mouth. In addition, digestive issues, including bowel disorders and acid reflux, can result in bad breath.

Dental hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is often the most common cause of bad breath. Bad breath is a typical consequence of food debris and bacterial dental plaque that were not removed from the surfaces of teeth and tongue. Oral bacteria not only create bad aromas, but also can lead to dental cavities, gum disease, and other oral issues.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth can be caused by dehydration, some medications, smoking, and certain health conditions. Naturally, saliva helps wash away smelly food particles and bacteria that contribute to bad breath. So, if you are lacking adequate saliva flow, you may end up experiencing bad breath.

Tobacco, Alcohol

Alcohol can lead to less saliva production, which can in turn lead to dry mouth and bad breath. In addition, tobacco products can lead to bad breath and a whole host of other health issues like gum disease and lung cancer.

Crash diets

Crash diets, including fasting or consuming a low amount of carbohydrates can cause bad breath due to the body’s production of strong-odor ketones.

Mouth, nose, and throat conditions

Sometimes, small bacteria-covered stones can form on the tonsils at the back of the throat and produce an odor. Also, infections or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses can cause bad breath.


Certain chronic health conditions like diabetes, various cancers, or kidney and liver failure can lead to bad breath.

What can I do to get rid of bad breath?

Avoid foods that are bad for your breath

Try avoiding strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic, which enter your bloodstream and make it hard to simply irradicate the oral odor with toothbrushing.

Thoroughly brush and floss regularly

It is necessary to brush your teeth at least two times each day for two minutes each time, and to floss at least once a day. This allows for the removal of odor-causing foods and bacteria, and can prevent many oral health issues from arising.

Rinse your mouth out more often

Mouthwash can be a great addition to your oral hygiene routine, and help fight bad breath. Look for an anti-bacterial and fluoride containing mouthwash that has the ADA Seal of Approval. It is also beneficial to rinse your mouth with water after eating to help wash away food particles and keep your mouth hydrated.

Scrape your tongue

As with your teeth, bacterial dental plaque can stick to the grooves of your tongue and cause bad breath. It is important to brush your tongue either with a toothbrush or tongue scraper to remove bacteria and food debris from the tongue.


Keep your mouth moist

If you are experiencing dry mouth, be sure to drink plenty of water during the day. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help stimulate saliva production. Make certain lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol, soda, and tobacco, which have been known to cause dry mouth.

Keep your gums healthy

Healthy gums can solve a lot of problems, including bad breath. It is important to remove food and smelly bacteria from under the gumline when brushing. Flossing is also necessary to keep the gums clean and healthy.

Avoid high in sugar foods

Foods high in sugar can allow oral bacteria to thrive and cause not only bad breath, but dental cavities and gum disease. Aim to implement a balanced and nutritious diet.

Avoid tobacco and alcohol habits

Smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided, which can help lower your risk of cancer, gum disease, bad breath, and many other health problems.

Consult a dentist for professional dental care

If you’re experiencing chronic bad breath, or any dental issue for that matter, our dental professionals at Gentle Dental are here to help you. Our caring team will diagnose and come up with the best comprehensive treatment plan to address all your dental needs.