Know your dental facts before making decisions

What Causes Bad Breath?

One of the best ways to get rid of halitosis is to know what causes bad breath. Here are the factors most likely to be responsible for the issue.

Halitosis can be a problem for many people, and while its effects are most likely to be temporary for some, for others it can be a more persistent condition. Bad breath can obviously be a problem socially, although it can be a signal of a more serious disease and therefore should not be overlooked. When considering what causes bad breath, there are a number of factors that can be involved.

Poor Oral Hygiene

One of the most common reasons for an individual to suffer from bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Without regular brushing and flossing, food particles can remain in the mouth and this can result in a build up of bacteria. This is evident on the teeth and gums, although it tends to be bacteria on the tongue which is most likely to be the cause of bad breath. The whitish coating that covers the back of the tongue tends to be the location where bad breath will emanate from if bacteria collects in this, although bacteria build-up in other areas of the mouth can also cause problems.  Brushing the tongue and inside of the cheeks, as well and teeth and gums can therefore be a way to reduce the chances of suffering from halitosis.


Most people will be aware that certain foods can be a temporary cause of bad breath, especially those that have a strong smell such as garlic, onions and some types of cheese. When eaten and chewed, these start to be broken down in the mouth, and when they enter the bloodstream through digestion the odor can be carried to the lungs and emitted when breathing. This tends to be a temporary condition, which will disappear when the food passes through your system, although if you want to avoid the effects it is worth toning down the strong smelling foods in your diet.

Dental Disease

While the build up of bacteria in the mouth as a result of poor hygiene can cause bad breath itself, it can also lead to other problems which can exacerbate the problem. Gum disease and tooth decay are examples of this, and when considering what causes bad breath, these are problems that may need to be dealt with. Other common dental problems that can result in halitosis include yeast infections in the mouth and poorly fitting dentures.

Dry Mouth

Another common problem that can result in bad breath is a dry mouth. In a healthy person saliva is manufactured naturally, and this works to cleanse the mouth in a number of ways. It can wash away food particles and dead cells that may otherwise accumulate in the mouth, as well as neutralize some of the acids that can be formed by plaque. When the mouth is dry this natural cleansing mechanism is removed, and this can be a cause of bad breath. There are a number of ways that an individual can have a dry mouth. It is a side effect of some medications, can be caused by constantly breathing through the mouth rather than the nose, can occur as a result of problems with the saliva glands, and can be caused by smoking. If saliva does not occur naturally in enough quantity, it can therefore help if the mouth is kept hydrated in other ways, such as chewing gum and drinking plenty of water.


Bad breath can be a side effect of a number of illnesses, with some of the common examples of this including diabetes, liver disease, kidney diseases and sinus infections. However, these are only a few of the illnesses that can cause halitosis problems. For anyone that suffers from persistent bad breath therefore, it can be worth visiting a physician for an examination to ensure that it is not a symptom of a more serious condition.

Bad breath is not something that has to be lived with, and there are various ways to reduce and cure the problem including practicing good oral hygiene, visiting a dentist regularly, stopping smoking and avoiding eating strong smelling foods. For anyone considering what causes bad breath, the information above shows some of the common reasons, and taking note of these and working to avoid them where possible should help in the efforts to keep your breath smelling sweeter.


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