What Causes Bad Breath?

Dark-haired woman with bad breath covers her mouth with her hands in embarrassment

Nobody wants bad breath, but do you know what actually causes it? Breath that’s less than fresh can occur after eating certain foods like garlic, but there are other things that can cause persistent bad breath, or halitosis.

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene
  2. If you don’t floss and brush well, food particles will stay in your mouth, providing a meal for bacteria. As bacteria feast, they form a layer of plaque on your teeth and produce enamel-destroying acids. This plaque leads to tooth decay, sensitive teeth, gum disease, and bad breath. Not brushing your tongue can also lead to foul odors. The worse your oral hygiene routine, the worse your breath will be. And once plaque hardens into tartar, it can’t be safely removed at home. That’s one reason why regular exams and cleanings at Troy Bartels Family Dentistry are so important. We scrape away all that nasty gunk and suggest ways to improve your oral hygiene!

  3. Dry Mouth
  4. Saliva is the mouth’s #1 defense against bacteria and decay. If your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva, your breath will suffer. That’s why everyone’s breath is not very pleasant in the morning because the mouth naturally doesn’t produce as much saliva at night. However, chronic dry mouth throughout the day isn’t normal. It might mean you are dehydrated, but it could also indicate something more serious. So let us know if your mouth always feels dry.

  5. Tobacco Use
  6. Tobacco has a strong smell on its own, affecting your breath during and after use, but it’s also dangerous for your oral health. Smoking and/or chewing tobacco makes you more vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, and infection, and therefore, halitosis.

  7. Underlying Disease
  8. Your bad breath may not be because of your oral health. Tonsillitis, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal disease, kidney disease, and other systemic conditions can cause bad breath. To be safe, check in with your primary care physician for help determining the cause of your bad breath!

How to Treat Bad Breath

Most of the time, people have bad breath because they aren’t maintaining good oral habits. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, brush your tongue every day, rinse your mouth with water after eating, floss at least once a day, and come visit Troy Bartels Family Dentistry twice a year for checkups and cleanings. For more advice on how to get rid of bad breath, check out this past blog post for tips. Then, contact us to schedule an appointment with our expert team!


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