9 Common Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be a humiliating condition. And while you may think that a quick swish of mouthwash or the popping a breath mint will fix the problem, that’s often not the case. But why? Because bad breath is often not just caused by the foods you eat. There may be some additional problems causing your bad breath.


  1. Foods. Of course, certain foods can cause bad breath. When foods break down in your mouth, they can increase the presence of bacteria. The bacteria, in turn, cause bad breath. Eating certain foods, for example, onions and garlic, are well-known to cause bad breath.
  2. Tobacco Products. Smoking causes bad breath. The nicotine and tar in tobacco products cause bad breath. Additionally, tobacco use causes dry mouth and other oral hygiene issues which contribute to bad breath.
  3. Poor Dental Hygiene. If you do not brush your teeth twice per day, floss regularly and see a dentist for checkups you are at risk for poor dental hygiene. A lack of proper dental care can lead to the buildup of plaque which brings higher levels of bacteria to your mouth contributing to bad breath. Additionally, if you wear dentures and do not properly care for them you can develop bad breath.
  4. Dry Mouth. Saliva is necessary to help remove bacteria from your mouth. When you suffer from dry mouth you will have an increased presence of bacteria which can contribute to bad breath.
  5. Medications. Certain medications are known to cause dry mouth which can lead to bad breath.
  6. Infections. If your mouth was to become infected, for example after a tooth extraction, this can also cause bad breath.
  7. Gum Disease. Gum disease is a leading cause of bad breath. Gum disease happens when the gums become infected due to plaque buildup. Remember that gum disease is a treatable condition when detected early.
  8. Tonsil Stones. Tonsil stones are formed when particles calcify on your tonsils. These stones often cause bad breath.
  9. Certain Illnesses/Conditions. Additionally, certain illnesses/conditions may cause bad breath such as acid reflux.

Most cases of bad breath are preventable or can be easily corrected. Talk to your dentist if you have concerns about your breath so that he/she can make recommendations to help you.