What Causes Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is embarrassing and can create awkward social situation. But do you know what causes bad breath? Understanding what causes bad breath can help you prevent it and the embarrassment that accompanies it.

What Causes Bad Breath?


Certain foods are smelly and give us bad breath. Garlic, onions, coffee, and spicy food can all leave less than pleasant odors in your mouth. Sometimes brushing is enough to remove these odors but some are more difficult to get rid and take time to dissipate. If you need your breath to smell good for a certain date or event skip the smelly foods that day!


Smoking has a lot of negative effects including oral cancers, teeth staining, and gum irritation. On top of all these smoking leaves an unpleasant odor in your mouth that is hard to get rid of just by brushing your teeth. Smokers also have a higher likelihood of gum disease, which is another source of persistent bad breath.

Dental Issues

Persistent bad breath can be caused by dental issues such as gum disease and cavities. As gum disease progresses, pockets are created between the gum and the teeth hiding bad bacteria that can cause gum decay and bad breath. In the same way bad bacteria is able to enter the cavity doing further damage and creating an unpleasant decay smell.


Bacteria that causes bad breath, cavities, and gum disease constantly builds up on your teeth, gums, and tongue. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular teeth cleanings remove this bacteria keeping our mouths healthy and our breath fresh. If you don’t have a good oral health routine and commonly skip brushing your teeth or flossing you will have a significant amount of bacteria in your mouth causing your breath to be less than fresh.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth occurs when your body does not produce enough saliva. Salvia is in charge of neutralizing acid and washing away bad bacteria and leftover food particles. When there isn’t enough saliva to do this, you get a build up of plaque and leftover food that can create bad breath. Dry mouth has a number of causes but chewing sugar free gum and staying hydrated can help prompt your body to make more saliva.


Diseases and conditions such as sinus infections, tonsillitis, respiratory issues, and diabetes can all result in bad breath. Bad breath may go away when these conditions are treated; however, some are worsened by the medication. Talk to your doctor and dentist about your bad breath and what steps you can take to mitigate it.


How To Beat Bad Breath

In order to beat bad breath, follow our dentist suggestions below.

Need a dentists help to battle your bad breath? Schedule an appointment with of our expert dentists by filling out our online form or calling 202-919-6547.

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