An important message from our office about Covid-19 IMPORTANT MESSAGE


Oral Hygiene

causes of bad breath

Bad Breath, It’s a Stinker: Causes and Solutions

By | Oral Hygiene | No Comments

Halitosis is not just embarrassing, it’s also a sign of a health issue.

Is your bad breath caused by the garlic bread you ate at lunch or is there something more serious going on below your gum line?
Bad breath, also known as halitosis or oral malodor, is not only embarrassing, but it can also signify a health issue.
In this guide, we’ll share the most common causes of bad breath and give you our top tips on how to make sure your mouth smells minty clean, even first thing in the morning.

Causes of Bad Breath

Poor Oral Hygiene

We’ll start with the obvious. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, then food particles stay in your mouth and begin to decay. Bacteria builds up and forms plaque, which is difficult to remove once it develops. The food buildup combined with the bacteria can cause a foul odor.

Tooth Decay

If left unchecked, poor oral hygiene habits can lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay. The result is a sour or rotten smell emanating from your mouth that might not even go away even after you brush your teeth.

Dry Mouth

When your mouth is dry, there’s not enough saliva to assist your mouth in rinsing away food and bacteria. The slowing or stopping of saliva is known as xerostomia, and this condition commonly happens during sleep. If you’ve ever wondered why morning breath is the norm, that’s why. Eight hours without water (combined with the occasional mouth breathing) dries out your mouth and results in a less than fresh mouth when you first wake up.

Food & Drink

Have you ever noticed that foods like garlic and onions tend to cause the strongest mouth odors? It’s because they enter the bloodstream and you breathe them out through your lungs.

Other strong-smelling drinks tend to stick with us for hours as well, including wine and coffee.


If you eat a lot of sugar, then you might suffer from bad breath. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar, so the more sweets you eat, the more diligent you have to be with your oral hygiene. It’s not just about cavities when it comes to sugar!

Low-carb and high-protein diets can also wreak havoc on the freshness of your breath. The underlying causes tend to be metabolic. Eating a balanced diet can reverse these effects.


You already know smoking is bad for your health, but it’s also bad for your breath. In addition to the stink of smoke, tobacco also damages your gum tissue, which can lead to gum disease.

Digestive Issues

If you have a condition like acid reflux, then the sensation of food or acid coming up your esophagus can also lead to bad odors traveling out of your mouth.

Prescription Medication

Several prescription medications cause dry mouth, which has already been identified as a cause of bad breath.

Health Conditions

If none of the above conditions is the culprit, there could be an underlying health condition. It could be as minor as postnasal drip or sinus issues. Other more serious diseases like diabetes and cancer can also lead to bad breath.

Solutions to Getting Rid of Bad Breath

See Your Dentist

Annual checkups (we recommend every six months) will help keep your mouth in tip-top shape. In addition to helping prevent plaque buildup and decay, regular visits to the dentist are also helpful in detecting small issues before they become big problems.

Brush and Floss Regularly

Common recommendations are to brush and floss twice daily; in the morning and before bed. A mid-day mouth cleansing can also be beneficial. Talk to your dentist about an ideal schedule as too-frequent brushing can cause tooth enamel to wear down as well as gum damage.

Use a Tongue Scraper

You’d be surprised by the gunk that hangs out on your tongue! A tongue scraper will remove a layer of buildup that would normally end up hanging out in your mouth.

Drink Plenty of Water

Stay hydrated to keep the saliva flowing. Water is also an effective on-the-go rinse aid.

Chew (Sugarless) Gum

As long as you keep it sugarless, gum can be a powerful breath freshener. It keeps saliva flowing while also helping to get rid of food particles.

Take a Probiotic

Probiotic supplements help with digestion while also preventing the accumulation of stinky candida yeast on your tongue.

You May Need A Custom Dental Solution

Once you’ve identified the leading causes of bad breath and implemented our tips, you should be able to feel confident that your breath smells fresh. For a custom solution to fight bad breath, contact our Scotia Glenville dental office for a consultation.

Important Update