What Are The Causes Of Bad Breath?

Dr. Ilya Benjamin

Bad breath is caused by bacteria that builds up in the mouth. No matter the cause of bad breath, your dentist can offer solutions to improve your breath.

The most common causes of bad breath are:

Poor Oral Hygiene

If a patient is suffering from bad breath, it’s usually due to poor oral hygiene. If patients brush and floss regularly, they’re less likely to experience bad breath. Without proper dental hygiene, food particles and bacteria will build up in the mouth. This bacteria can metabolize the food particles and begin to emit a foul odor.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a leading cause of bad breath, and it affects nearly half of all American adults. The condition causes bleeding, redness, and irritation of the gums. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Fortunately, your dentist can help treat gum disease with professional cleanings, improved at-home care, and medication.


While eating certain foods can temporarily contribute to bad breath, they aren’t likely to cause it. Foods are less likely to cause it because they don’t remain in your mouth long enough to affect it. The exception to this is garlic, which tends to linger more than other foods. If you’re concerned about bad breath, avoid eating garlic right before a social event.

Dry Mouth

When your mouth is dry, saliva production is reduced. Without saliva, food particles aren’t washed away, leaving them to rot in the mouth. Bacteria feed on this decaying food and release foul-smelling chemicals.

Dry mouth is a common problem among older adults. Medications can reduce saliva production, as can nerves. If you suffer from dry mouth, ask your dentist for tips to keep it from getting worse.


Smoking is the single greatest cause of halitosis. The chemicals in cigarettes not only stain your teeth but also cause dry mouth, which can perpetuate bad breath.

Additionally, smoking can cause gum disease, which in turn can exacerbate bad breath. When gum disease is severe, it can actually cause bone loss, which can lead to tooth loss.

If you’re a smoker, your dentist will likely recommend deep cleaning or scaling and root planing to thoroughly clean your teeth. Scaling and root planing remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and gum line.

If you are a smoker, it’s never too late to quit. Your dentist may be able to recommend support groups or smoking cessation programs in your area.

Medication Side Effects

Poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, gum disease, and tooth decay can all lead to bad breath. People who have dry mouths often experience bad breath. This can happen when the flow of saliva in the mouth is slowed. A lack of saliva can lead to a buildup of plaque, which can turn into tartar and result in tooth decay. Bad breath caused by medication side effects can be treated by talking with your health care provider and making changes to your diet.

Call Dream Dental at (725) 234-3106 or schedule an online appointment to visit our dental office at 8685 W Sahara Ave Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89117. We will be happy to guide you further.

Leave a comment

Dr. Ilya Benjamin
Written by Dr. Ilya Benjamin
Written by Author