Causes of Bad Breath

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad Breath: Halitosis
Permanent Bad Breath Could Be Caused By an Underlying Medical or Dental Issue

It's difficult to admit that you may have bad breath, also known as halitosis. However, bad breath is more common than you may think, affecting a quarter of the population at some point in their life. So what causes bad breath and how can you fix it?
Sources of bad breath could be long-lasting or temporary. Permanent bad breath is typically due to an underlying medical or dental issue. Temporary bad breath is typically the result of your diet, dehydration or smelly foods like onion or garlic. It is important to identify the source of your halitosis in order to resolve the problem. Here is a list of most common causes of bad breath:

Dental Causes of Bad Breath

Majority of bad breath cases originate from plaque and tartar accumulation on your teeth and gums which leads to gum disease. As such, it’s not a bad idea to start off your bad breath treatment with a trip to the dentist. Chances are a good dental cleaning is all you need to fix your problem. Once plaque and tartar gather on your teeth, they produce sulfur compounds which creates a foul odor leading to bad breath. Gum disease is a serious condition which does more than cause bad breath. It causes bleeding gums, teeth sensitivity and can even lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Bad breath is one of the earliest warning signs that you could be suffering from gum disease. Going to the dentist can help manage the underlying gum disease and prevent more serious complications.

Medical Causes of Bad Breath

If your dentist can’t diagnose or address the source of your halitosis then you may have to consult with your physician. Medical problems involving stomach and gastrointestinal system, such as acid reflux or GERD, can cause bad breath. Systemic diseases such as diabetes, bronchitis, kidney or liver problems can be responsible for bad breath. Stomach or respiratory tract cancers can affect your metabolism and lead to bad breath. Additionally, any medical issue which decreases saliva flow can cause dry mouth which indirectly leads to bad breath. Don’t take bad breath lightly as you never know what could be the responsible. A physical checkup and possibly blood test may be required to rule out such conditions as the source of persistent halitosis.


It turns out that over 300 medications have dry mouth listed as one of their complications. As mentioned before, dry mouth can lead to bad breath. Examine your medications to see if dry mouth is listed as a side-effect. If you’re taking lots of medications, chances are that at least one of them causes dry mouth. Talk to your physician to see if anything could done about this. Alternatively, look for solutions to increase your saliva flow, such as drinking water, snacking frequently or using sugarless gum to stimulate salivation.

Diets & Fasting

When dieting, your body begins to break down fat deposits which causes a byproduct known as ketones. Once your metabolism switches to producing ketones, it places your body in a state referred to as Ketosis, and you start to break down fat and lose weight. However, ketones smell foul and cause bad breath, referred to as Ketosis breath. To eliminate Ketosis breath, modify your diet, snack more frequently or consult with your physician for alternative solutions. Similarly, if you’re not eating for extended periods of time, you’ll also start producing ketones. In fact, ketones cause bad breath in the morning and are responsible for morning breath syndrome.


Cigarettes and tobacco products cause bad breath. The best solution here is to stop smoking altogether. Both your dentist and physician can help you by offering nicotine substitute products, such as nicotine gums or patches. These products help you gradually kick your smoking habit over the course of several months by continually reducing your nicotine intake. Talk to your dentist or physician if you are serious about quitting to see what help they can offer.
Brush 'n Floss Yo Teeth!
Ali John Jazayeri, DDS


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  13. Your breath and oral health are both impacted by what you consume. Any food, including foods like garlic and onions, is absorbed into the circulation. That meal may have an impact on your breath till it exits the body. Food persists in the mouth in the absence of proper and consistent brushing, flossing, and frequent dental checkups. In this environment, microorganisms thrive. Food that builds up on the tongue, gums, or teeth may decay. It also leaves a bad taste and smell in the mouth.

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