Do You Know What is Causing Your Bad Breath?

| November 14, 2016

Bad BreathChronic or persistent bad breath can be a major source of anxiety, as well as a potential indicator of underlying issues. And while no one with bad breath wants it to stick around, the cause can be unique from person to person.

The first step to kicking bad breath for good is understanding its root cause. Bad breath, or halitosis, might be solved with a minor change to your routine, or could require something more intensive. But first, you need to know why bad breath occurs.

Food Breakdown and Poor Hygiene

Perhaps the simplest cause for many cases of bad breath involves what we put in our mouths, and how well we clean up afterward. If we brush infrequently or ineffectively, food particles can become stuck between teeth and begin to break down, causing an unpleasant odor.

Some foods like onions and garlic even affect our breath while digesting – the odor will stick around until the food is completely eliminated from the body.

Dry Mouth

Bad breath can also be a side effect of persistent dry mouth. Your mouth uses saliva to continually clean itself; if your body isn’t manufacturing enough saliva, food particles and other particulates can linger on your teeth, gums and tongue.

Along with causing foul odors, smoking cigarettes can also dry out your mouth.

Change in Diet

If you have recently made a significant dietary change, this could also be causing bad breath. Diets that are low in carbohydrates can actually be a source of halitosis – as the body burns off fat, chemicals called ketones are released in your breath.

Brushing and flossing more regularly won’t mitigate bad breath due to ketosis – it may take further dietary adjustment.


Bad breath can also be a byproduct of certain medications. This is typically due to one of two things – either the medicine causes dry mouth, leading to bad breath, or the breakdown of the medication in the body creates bad odors.

Some medications that can cause bad breath include certain chemotherapy chemicals, some vitamin supplements, angina treatments, high blood pressure medication, antidepressants, and migraine medication.

Signs of Underlying Medical Conditions

Bad breath can also be an indicator of something more serious than poor hygiene or diet.

In the mouth alone, halitosis can be caused by oral infections, or as a byproduct of gum disease or periodontitis. Inflammation of the throat and sinuses can also be a source of bad breath.

In the body at large, halitosis can be sign of chronic reflux, liver infection or failure, diabetes, yeast infections, an autoimmune disorder, and some forms of cancer.

Bad Breath is Different for Everyone – Ask Your Dentist

With so many possible sources of bad breath, identifying your own specific root cause can be difficult. As such, getting your dentist involved is critical to overcoming the problem.

Along with providing a cleaning more thorough than anything you can accomplish with toothbrush and floss, your dentist can identify and treat other orally-related causes of halitosis. And if dental care doesn’t clear up the issue, your dentist can let you know when it’s time to consult your physician.

Our professionals at Grandview Dental Care can help you both identify the individual cause of your bad breath, and help determine the best treatment for you. Contact us to learn more or to schedule your next appointment.