What Are The Causes of Bad Breath?

Realizing that you have bad breath can be embarrassing. Bad breath or halitosis can either be a temporary problem or an ongoing problem depending on the cause. 

This article will not only help you identify what is causing bad breath but also discuss what can help you to get rid of bad breath. Let’s start by looking at the common reasons for bad breath.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) is usually due to the following: 


Some foods will temporarily cause your breath to smell. Foods with strong scents like garlic and coffee often linger in your mouth long after consuming them. Quick fixes include brushing your teeth, chewing sugar-free gum, or using a mouthwash.


Regular use of tobacco products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco often causes a long-lasting problem with bad breath that can’t easily be masked. You are at a greater risk of damaging your oral health including the development of oral cancers. 

The most effective way to reduce bad odors is to quit, this will also improve your oral health.

Oral Health Issues

Gum disease or tooth cavities are also known to create an unpleasant smell. Odor-causing bacteria can flourish between teeth that have grown close together or around braces that haven’t been fitted properly. 

You’ll need to be more diligent with flossing to reach those hard-to-reach places and reduce bacteria levels.


Odor-causing bacteria can multiply quickly when food particles are left inside your mouth. Brushing your teeth twice a day and floss at least once are the recommendations of the American Dental Association (ADA). 

Doing so will remove unwanted food particles. Your mouth will be more hygienic and reduce the amount of odor-causing bacteria. 

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is caused by smoking, medications, health problems, or even the way you breathe. By quitting smoking or changing medicines may help reduce dry mouth, decreasing odors.


Oral diseases in the mouth and throat such as tonsillitis can cause bad breath. Having diabetes may also cause bad breath. As some medications used to treat illnesses can cause dry mouth this may also contribute to bad breath. 

Speak to your doctor about changing your medication if you feel this is causing a problem.

How can I prevent bad breath?

Did you identify the causes of your bad breath? Each person needs to be honest with themselves to identify the causes of bad breath. You could also ask your doctor or dentist to make some observations too. 

In many cases, simple adjustments such as following basic oral hygiene practices and avoiding tobacco products are usually sufficient to achieve fresher breath. 

So make sure you brush and floss regularly, make regular visits to the dentists. Your oral hygiene will benefit too as you reduce the level of bacteria in your mouth.

A Further Warning for Tobacco Users

Tobacco products including smoking, greatly increase the risk of developing oral cancer. You should have your dentist regularly check for abnormalities in the tissue in or around your mouth. 

If you notice something then don’t hesitate to book yourself an appointment with the surgeons at Novato Oral Surgery. They can provide an oral biopsy which will diagnose any irregularities inside the mouth. You can find them in Novato, CA. They provide service for patients in the surrounding San Francisco Bay region.

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