What are the causes of bad breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a cause of awkward situations. If you have this problem, then you will want to know what is causing bad breath. This article discusses the most common reasons for bad breath.


Bad breath (or halitosis) occurs because of a number of reasons.

  • Food – Bad breath usually comes from the things we eat. Strong flavors in foods such as garlic, onions, and coffee are the most common culprits. You can usually improve your breath by brushing your teeth, chewing sugar-free gum, or by using some mouthwash.
  • Tobacco – Smoking and other tobacco products are other causes of bad breath. They are also known to be causes of other oral health problems such as oral cancers and teeth staining. You can eliminate the cause of bad breath by giving up their use.
  • Dental Issues – Oral health issues such as gum disease and cavities are likely to cause bad breath as well. If you are experiencing dental issues such as crowded teeth or braces that haven’t been fitted properly you may also notice odors develop. Speak to your surgeon if you think this could be a cause.
  • Bacteria – Bad breath may be caused by odor-causing bacteria. This bacterium can multiply when there are food particles left in your mouth or between your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) gives good recommendations that will keep your mouth clean and help to reduce the number of bacteria there. They recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once, and visiting the surgeon every 6 months.
  • Dry Mouth – There may be a few reasons why you develop dry mouth. Medications, smoking, health problems, or even your way of breathing are some of the most common reasons. Your surgeon may be able to suggest some ways to restore the saliva levels in your mouth.
  • Disease – Many common illnesses that affect the mouth and nose can create bad breath. Sinusitis, tonsillitis, and other respiratory infections are some examples. Diabetes is also known to cause bad breath. Medications that help treat these illnesses may dry out the mouth making bad breath worse. If you suspect that your medication is causing bad breath then speak to your doctor to see if you can change your medication.


As you have already seen, to tackle bad breath, you need to address the cause. At times we need to be honest with ourselves about what might be causing the halitosis. Speak to your surgeon and doctor when you visit them for further suggestions. However, once you look after your oral hygiene and are tobacco free you will most likely be free from halitosis. When you brush and floss regularly and go to the surgeon every 6 months you are likely to maintain good oral health too. You can also eliminate bacteria that cause bad breath using an antiseptic mouthwash.


Tobacco users are more likely to develop oral cancer. If you notice any abnormality in the tissue in or around your mouth, then don’t hesitate to book yourself an appointment with the surgeons at Bay Area OSM. They can provide an oral biopsy which will diagnose any irregularities inside the mouth.