Common Causes of Bad Breath and its Treatments

Common Causes of Bad Breath and its Treatments

Everyone has bad breath from time to time, but if you have persistent bad breath (also known as halitosis and fetor oris), it could indicate some health issues. Bad breath doesn’t just affect physical health; it can also affect your mental health by affecting your confidence, especially if it’s noticeable to others. 

You can improve bad breath by consistently practicing good oral care and understanding what causes it. You should see your dentist or physician if good oral care doesn’t improve halitosis. 

Let’s start by seeing what can cause bad breath.

Causes of Bad Breath

Certain Foods

It is common knowledge that foods like onion and garlic can cause temporary bad breath. When these foods break down into small particles, they can cause bad breath. And after they are digested and have entered our bloodstream, they are carried to your lungs with your blood and can affect your breath.

Poor Dental Hygiene

If you don’t brush and floss regularly, food particles stuck in your teeth can cause bad breath. Brushing and flossing are also essential to remove plaque (a film of bacteria on your teeth) which can irritate gums and cause periodontitis. 

Not cleaning your tongue every day can also make it harbor odor-causing bacteria.


Tobacco can cause its type of specific odors. And tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, which can cause bad breath.

Dry Mouth

Saliva plays a crucial role in cleaning your mouth and removing odor-causing bacteria. So when saliva production decreases, it can cause dry mouth (or xerostomia), increasing your chances of developing bad breath. 

A dry mouth can occur during sleep but can worsen if you open your mouth. It is also caused by smoking, some medications, and diseases that affect the salivary glands.


Certain medications can affect saliva production and cause dry mouth, resulting in bad breath. Some medicines are broken down by the body to produce chemicals that can cause bad breath. Examples of those medications are high-dose vitamin supplements, nitrates, chemotherapy medication, phenothiazines, etc.

Infections and Other Mouth, Nose, and Throat Conditions

Infections caused by decaying teeth, gum diseases, or mouth sores can cause bad breath. Surgical wounds after oral surgery can also contribute to infections.

Various other conditions in the mouth, nose, and throat can cause halitosis:

  • Pneumonia can cause you to cough up fluids that can smell bad.
  • Inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses can also cause bad breath. 
  • Small stones can form in the tonsils that can get covered with bacteria that can produce odor.

Some Other Diseases

Other diseases can cause bad breath for various reasons. Here are some of them:

  • Cancers
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD)
  • Liver failure
  • Foreign bodies lodged in the nasal cavity
  • Gum diseases

Here’s What To Do

As you can see, halitosis can be caused by a wide range of issues. Hence, bad breath treatment depends on the underlying cause of it. If it’s just from poor oral hygiene, professional dental cleaning can significantly help eliminate it. If you have healthy teeth and gums and practice good oral care, you should visit your dentist or physician to help figure out the underlying condition contributing to bad breath.

Meanwhile, here are some things you can do to prevent and eliminate bad breath:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. 
  • Floss at least once daily since brushing only cleans 60% of the surface area of your teeth. 
  • Remember to clean your tongue daily with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. 
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash post-meal. 
  • Change your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. 
  • Anything that sits in your mouth should be cleaned daily, like dentures, bridges, mouth guards, etc. 
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dry mouth. 
  • Boost saliva production with sugar-free chewing gum and eat other foods that require plenty of chewing. 
  • Avoid consuming tobacco products and drinking. 
  • Limit caffeine consumption. 
  • Visit your dentist regularly for routine checkups and dental cleanings.

If chronic bad breath has been affecting your daily life, it is essential to figure out the exact condition causing it. This process can include some trial and error that can be made easier with the right dentist. Suppose you are looking for the best dentist in Roswell, GA, or neighboring areas like Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Marietta, Milton, Sandy Springs, or Woodstock. In that case, you can book an appointment at TruCare Dentistry. Visit our website or call (678) 321-7575 to book your appointment and learn more about our services.