What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Posted by DDS STAFF on Sep 5 2022, 09:20 AM

What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Bad breath isn’t just embarrassing; it can be harmful. These foul odors can indicate a larger issue, such as tooth decay or gum disease.

Bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth. When bacteria build up on your teeth, they release volatile sulfur compounds. These compounds mix with moisture in the air and result in bad breath. 

The key factors that result in bad breath are as follows:

Poor Dental Hygiene

Most cases of bad breath result from poor dental hygiene habits. If patients don’t brush their teeth and floss regularly, food particles will remain in the mouth and rot. This releases a foul odor that patients may notice.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is the most common cause of halitosis. Bacteria build up after plaque and tartar have collected on the teeth. This buildup irritates the gums, causing them to pull away from the teeth, creating deeper pockets. Bacteria can then build up in these pockets, causing bad breath.


Cavities are a common cause of bad breath. When bacteria in the mouth eat the foods that you eat, they release acids that break down your tooth enamel.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth is a condition that occurs when the flow of saliva in the mouth is reduced. This can be caused by certain medications, anxiety, or certain medical conditions. A dry mouth may also occur if you are dehydrated, which can happen after an illness, during intense exercise, or from mouth breathing. It can result in a bad odor from your mouth.


Tobacco is both the cause and the symptom of bad breath. Smoking causes bad breath because of the chemicals in cigarettes. This odor is caused by tar, nicotine, and other substances that build up in the mouth and throat. The chemicals also irritate the gum tissue, causing gum disease, which can also lead to halitosis.


Certain food and other substances can cause bad breath. Garlic, onions, coffee, and tobacco products are all common culprits. These foods and drinks can all end in foul-smelling compounds that are absorbed into the bloodstream and exhaled through the lungs. Brushing your teeth, rinsing with mouthwash, and flossing after consuming these foods can help mitigate their effects.


Certain medications can cause bad breath. These include antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and medications for cancer or HIV. Talk to your dentist if you’re concerned about the way a medication is affecting your teeth.

Any medication that reduces the flow of saliva can also result in bad breath.

Chronic Conditions

Some chronic conditions, such as diabetes, kidney failure, and liver disease, can cause bad breath. In these cases, the condition itself is the cause. If the underlying condition is treated, then bad breath may be resolved.

Dental Design Studio, located in Peoria, AZ, has expert dentists who can provide the best treatment plan for all dental requirements. Call us at 623-933-6010 to schedule a consultation with the dentist to know more about dental treatments.

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