Causes of Bad Breath

Causes of Bad Breath

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

You brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. You even gargle with mouthwash.

Yet you still need a breath mint to cover up that unpleasant taste and smell in your mouth. What’s up with that?

There are numerous causes of bad breath, which is also known as halitosis. Some are common and easily treatable, while others may indicate a chronic oral health condition requiring the care of a dentist.

What Is Giving Me Bad Breath?

There are a number of very common and treatable issues that can cause bad breath for many adults. These include the following:

Poor Oral Hygiene

The most common cause of bad breath is simply that you aren’t cleaning your teeth and mouth regularly. As a result, food particles remain, and bacteria in the form of plaque builds up on your teeth.

Not only that, but food particles and bacteria also linger in the uneven surfaces of your tongue and tonsils, thus producing odor. Lax oral hygiene can also lead to cavities and gum disease, which are also linked to bad breath.

Odor-Causing Foods

Certain foods such as onions, garlic, and other vegetables and spices – although generally healthy – have particles that can enter your bloodstream and are delivered to your lungs, where they can affect the smell of your breath when you exhale.

High-Sugar Diet

Foods which are high in sugar can produce bad breath because the sugars interact with the bacteria that naturally exists in your mouth.

Low-Carb and High-Protein Diets

When your body is low on carbohydrates, it can alter your body’s metabolism, leading to bad breath. Meanwhile, an abundance of high-protein food can be hard for your body to digest, which then releases sulfurous gases that contribute to bad breath.

Poor Digestion

If you experience acid reflux, the odor of recently consumed food can make its way up your esophagus and out your mouth. Likewise, digestive tract issues such as constipation or bowel disorders can also result in bodily odor that can eventually affect your breath.

Dry Mouth

Saliva helps to keep your mouth fresh by naturally washing out food particles, so a lack of saliva is another cause of bad breath. Dry mouth is natural when you’re sleeping, but it requires attention if it persists throughout your day.

Coffee and Alcohol

Not only does coffee tend to have an intense flavor (and therefore cause an intense odor), but the caffeine it contains can decrease saliva production and therefore increase odor-causing bacteria. The same is true of alcoholic beverages. Both should be consumed in moderation.


It’s a no-brainer that tobacco products inherently cause bad breath. However, they can also damage oral tissue and cause gum disease, which can also contribute to bad breath.

Prescription Medications

Many of these produce side effects such as dry mouth, and they can also release chemicals into your bloodstream – which are later carried to your breath.

Diseases or Illnesses

Bad breath is often a symptom of certain health conditions, such as:

  • Sinus problems
  • Postnasal drip
  • Respiratory infections
  • Tonsil infections
  • Blood disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Liver issues
  • Kidney issues

Family Dentist in Las Vegas

The first step in eliminating bad breath is to determine its cause. Dedicated Dental in Henderson, Nevada, specializes in family and cosmetic dentistry, including diagnosing and treating conditions that may cause bad breath.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling (702) 566-5509, or fill out our appointment request form. We’re here to provide you with a lifetime of optimal oral health – as well as a dazzling smile.