Causes of Bad Breath and How To Avoid It

Halitosis, or persistent bad breath, is one of the most common reasons people seek dental care other than for help with tooth decay and gum disease.

Bad BreathWhat causes bad breath?

Have you been reaching for the breath mints lately? That odor is actually a result of sulfur compounds produced by bacteria as it breaks down particles of food. If you haven’t been keeping up with your dental hygiene, the food particles stuck between your teeth can lead to chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.

Bad breath can be a sign of gum disease

If your bad breath does not improve after careful brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash, you may have a chronic condition—in some cases that is caused by the buildup of plaque on your teeth. Bacteria forms toxins, which irritate the gums, leading to periodontal problems.

4 common causes of bad breath

Dry mouth

Do you wake up with “morning breath”? That’s morning foulness is caused by a lack of saliva production while you sleep. We’re all prone to it, but in a healthy individual, the smell will go away within minutes of normal saliva flow. However, in some individuals, bad breath due to dry mouth persists. Dry mouth can be caused from long periods of speaking, smoking, drinking alcohol, and snoring. A dry mouth is the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish, unfortunately.


Garlic and onions are the obvious offenders, but did you know dairy, meat, and fish also provide a food source for sulfur-producing bacteria? Sugars, coffee, and juices also provide bacteria with a feasting ground, which can lead to bad breath.

Poor dental hygiene

Mom was right—you do need to brush and floss your teeth! If not, bacterial will buildup on your teeth and gums—attaching to the teeth for long periods. If you don’t remove the plaque, it accumulates along the gumline, making itself at home, and hardens. This plaque buildup destroys your teeth and gum tissue, causing your gums to bleed and fuel odor-causing bacteria.

Illness, disease, and medication

Halitosis can also be caused by illnesses that include diabetes, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, respiratory infections or metabolic disorders because of dry mouth. Anything else that affects the airways can make matters worse, such as postnasal drip, polyps, or sinusitis. Medications that reduce saliva production as a side effect and therefore contribute to dry mouth will also be a culprit.

What you can do about your bad breath:

  • Oral care products: try a mouthwash and fluoride toothpaste that is effective in fighting bad breath
  • Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day—try baking soda, which helps neutralize excess acids found in the oral cavity and allows bacteria that causes bad breath to thrive.
  • Stimulate your salivary flow with chewing gum, lozenges, or mints that are sugar free
  • Eat fibrous fruits and vegetables: eat an apple a day!
  • Take a dietary supplement such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin B
  • Drink green and black teas—they contain polyphenols that help reduce oral bacteria
  • Drink plenty of water

Still have a problem?

Reach out to Dr. Gutierrez today! We will find the root cause of your concern and help you get back on track.

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