Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by dry mouth, gum disease, cavities, or food that is stuck in your teeth. Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are only temporary solutions. Good oral hygiene habits are important, but they are not enough to get rid of bad breath.

Here are the causes of bad breath:

Poor Dental Hygiene

If teeth are not brushed and flossed on a regular basis, food particles will build up in the mouth. Food particles create bacteria that emit foul-smelling gases from the mouth. Rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash that has antibacterial properties can help combat the odor caused by this bacteria. Regular professional cleanings and checkups will also eliminate plaque buildup on the teeth and reduce the risk of bad breath.

At-home care includes brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove bits of food and leftover plaque that your brush can’t reach. Mouthwashes can also help kill bacteria and wash away any remaining food particles that may be stuck in the crevices of your teeth.


If food particles aren’t effectively removed from your mouth, they can cause bad breath by breaking down into odor-causing compounds. These foods include garlic, onions, and dairy products such as milk and cheese. After eating these foods, you should brush your teeth or at least rinse out your mouth with water.

To get rid of bad odors from food, you can use mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gum stimulates saliva production and helps wash away food particles from your teeth. Mouthwash works similarly to water and can help cut some of the foods that cause bad breath. However, using mouthwash without an antibacterial fluoride ingredient will not kill bacteria in your mouth. An antibacterial mouthwash with fluoride will help clean the plaque that builds up on your teeth that cause bad breath.

Dry Mouth

One of the most common causes of dry mouth is medication side effects. Many medications can cause dry mouth as a side effect, which may also cause bad breath. Some common medications that may cause dry mouth include cough and cold medicines and antidepressants. Other causes may include dehydration, smoking, diabetes, and aging.

Tobacco Products

The tobacco in cigarettes and chewing tobacco can lead to bad breath, dry mouth, stained teeth, gum disease, and even oral cancer. Smoking also slows down the healing process for many kinds of oral surgery or cosmetic treatments.

It is not too late to quit using tobacco products and start fresh with a healthy smile! Talk to your dentist about ways to quit today.

Gum Disease

Most cases of bad breath are not caused by teeth but by the gums and tongue. When bacteria build up on the teeth and gums, they can release odors that make their way up to the nose and are expelled out of the mouth. Bacteria can also collect on the back of the tongue, which can also give off foul smells when brushed or flossed away from the tooth’s surfaces.

To learn more about ways to maintain good oral health, visit us for consultation at Shepherd Dental at 915-D N Shepherd Dr. Ste. D, Houston, TX 77008, or contact us for an appointment at (713) 864-3993.


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