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What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Posted by One Health Dental on Sep 9 2022, 10:28 AM

What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Halitosis is the technical term for bad breath. Bacteria that are present on your tongue and between your teeth can release odorous gases. The bacteria that release these bad-smelling gases are referred to as anaerobic bacteria.

These bacteria thrive off of the food particles that get stuck between your teeth. Plaque, which is a buildup of food, saliva, and bacteria, can cause bad breath.

Here are the most common causes of bad breath:

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can result in many dental problems, including bad breath. Flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day are essential for keeping your breath fresh. In addition to brushing, you can rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce bacteria.

If you have bad breath, you should visit your dentist. Your dentist can examine your mouth and teeth and recommend the best treatment plan for you. 

Gum Disease

Gum disease (gingivitis) is the most common cause of halitosis (bad breath). Bacteria from plaque buildup on the teeth break down proteins in the saliva, resulting in an unpleasant odor. Bad breath due to gum disease often isn’t accompanied by other symptoms, and people may be unaware that they have a dental problem.

Gingivitis is caused by an accumulation of plaque on the enamel and inside the gum line. If left untreated, gingivitis can cause bleeding gums, redness, and bad breath. If caught early enough, severe gingivitis may respond to treatment or disappear on its own.


Cigarettes and other tobacco products can stain your teeth and dull your sense of taste. In fact, smoking is the leading cause of bad breath. Quitting smoking may be hard, but bad breath is one convincing reason to quit. Smoking also increases your risk of periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

Certain Foods and Drinks

There are a number of foods that can contribute to bad breath. Garlic and onion are two of the main culprits, as are dairy products.

Systemic Diseases

Systemic diseases can lead to bad breath. For example, diabetes causes dry mouth, which can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, resulting in bad breath. Similarly, illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis can cause a buildup of mucus in the mouth, which can result in an unpleasant odor.

Other Medical Conditions

There are a number of serious medical conditions that can cause bad breath. In addition, medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and high blood pressure medications can dry out the mouth and cause bad breath.


A dry mouth, which is likely due to dehydration, is another common cause of bad breath. When you do not drink enough water, there is an insufficient amount of saliva. Saliva helps rinse away food particles and bacteria, so without it, bacteria will linger and can cause bad breath. A dry mouth can also make the breath smell worse. This is because the mouth needs moisture to keep its breath smelling fresh and clean.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth is an extremely common cause of bad breath. Saliva naturally works to rinse away food debris and bacteria in the mouth.

Without saliva, food particles and bacteria are left to linger in the mouth, causing bad breath. Other causes of dry mouth include certain medications, anxiety, smoking, and aging.

Wish to schedule your appointment with the Dentist in Dallas for any dental procedures? Visit our Dallas dentist at One Health Dental, located at 4801 S Buckner Blvd Suite 800, Dallas, TX 75227, or book your consultation today by calling us at (214) 275-4808.

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