Why Do You Have Bad Breath?

Posted: March 12, 2018 By: Comment: 0

Older man with bad breath talking to a child

Do you have bad breath or think that you might? Many people worry about having bad breath when most people have little to no odor on their breath. However, there are also many others that actually do have bad breath and don’t know it. The odor of your breath can signal the type of underlying cause you have for your breath. Most people can avoid problems with their breath if they stick to an oral hygiene routine and remember to brush their tongue. Others won’t be able to rid themselves of a mouth odor unless they address a specific oral health problem. Find out the reasons you might have bad breath and what you can do to make it go away!


What Is Bad Breath?

Bad breath is something that everyone has dealt with at some point or another. Studies show that Americans spend over $10 billion dollars a year on oral hygiene products to keep their mouth clean and their breath smelling fresh. One of those reasons is to keep bad breath under control. Simply eating certain foods such as garlic or onions can give you foul-smelling breath that you yourself can smell. However, that smell will go away if it’s simply from food.


Only about 25% of people actually have bad breath that sticks around. This type of bad breath is clinically termed “halitosis” and is generally the result of poor oral hygiene. Bad breath starts in the mouth, and for people who have this as a chronic problem, it is a sign that something is wrong. There are many causes of bad breath. You will have to seek the help of a medical or dental professional to determine the exact cause if you have bad breath that’s not caused by food or oral hygiene problems.


Doctor holding a sign that says "halitosis"

What Causes the Smell?

There are many causes of bad breath that include:

  • Tooth Decay – Tooth decay is perhaps the most common cause of bad breath. You know this term by other words such as “cavity” or “dental caries”. When you eat, sugars in your food mix with mouth bacteria to form plaque, a sticky, acidic substance that sticks to teeth. If you don’t brush and floss daily, that plaque will erode your teeth and decay them, causing a foul odor.
  • Gum Disease – This goes hand-in-hand with tooth decay. Plaque sticks to the teeth right at the gumline. If you don’t brush and floss, plaque’s acidic nature will irritate your gums, causing them to be red, swollen and irritated. They may even bleed easier and will start to recede. Gum disease can make bad breath from tooth decay even worse.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene – Tooth decay and gum disease are caused from poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss or see the dentist, you will likely get one or both of these problems, which can become quite chronic.
  • Certain Foods – Garlic, onions, and many different spices will give your breath a different smell. However, if your bad breath is caused from food, it should go away soon after, especially if you brush your teeth and tongue.
  • Tobacco or Alcohol Use – Tobacco products (especially chewing tobacco) will cause countless problems in your body and your mouth is no exception. Alcohol will also give you bad breath and will cause you tooth decay, among many other problems. Avoid both if you want to keep your mouth and body healthy and if you want to avoid bad breath.
  • Medical Conditions – Acid reflux will give many people bad breath because there are acids constantly coming up towards your mouth. Diabetes, liver and kidney diseases, sinus infections, lung or throat problems and more will also give you bad breath. If your bad breath is chronic and you have good hygiene, seek help from a medical professional to determine if a medical condition is causing your bad breath.


Family brushing their teeth together

Preventing Common Oral Health Problems

You largely determine if you will have chronic bad breath or not. Choosing to eat foods that are free of garlic, onions and spices can reduce mild smelly breath. Eating healthy can help reduce chronic conditions you have that affect the mouth. However, as we mention, bad breath starts in your mouth. You have to have great oral hygiene habits to avoid tooth decay and gum disease, which are major causes of foul breath. The American Dental Association recommends that every person brush at least twice a day, if not after every meal. Brush for 2 minutes at a time, and then floss your teeth, making sure to scrape the teeth to rid them of plaque.


These two habits alone will significantly reduce your risk for smelly breath. Seeing the dentist at least biannually for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings can help to completely clean your mouth. If you have bad breath that doesn’t go away, we will help you determine the cause and treat any tooth decay that is present.


Break Free From Bad Breath

You have 1440 minutes in a day. You only have to use 2 minutes a few times a day to keep your mouth clean. That very short amount of time can help you avoid many chronic oral health problems. You would think that it would be so simple for people to take that time, but studies show that many people don’t brush or floss during the day. If that is you, make a resolution to start having great oral health. It will likely help you get rid of bad breath and will make your mouth and the rest of your body cleaner and healthier. If you would like to be seen by a dentist, call Dr. Ania’s office today at 303-443-0998!



All stories by: abhisake.jain