The Root of Bad Breath

What causes bad breath? Whether it's food, disease, or dental issues, get to the root cause and solve your bad breath problems with Swish Smiles. Learn more today!

Have you ever left your house, maybe to go to work or on a first date, and suddenly realized you failed the “sniff test” where you surreptitiously blow into your cupped hand(s) to see how your breath is? You then realize how unpleasant your breath is and become paranoid that all of the people around you are getting a whiff of it every time you speak? Well, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, you are not alone and close to 80 million people deal with halitosis, which is also known as chronic bad breath.  

Although we all know what bad breath is, and we’ve all been embarrassed by it on occasions,  understanding what causes it can help prevent it and the shame that often accompanies it. Below are some of the simple causes of bad breath and ways to combat it.

The Causes of Bad Breath?

Below is a list of things that can negatively impact one’s breath as well as some ways to fight for pleasant smelling breath.


Ever told someone you have coffee breath after your morning “Cup of Joe” or experienced the end result of garlic breath (3 Ways To Get Rid of Garlic Breath) after a deliciously garlic filled meal? While these are two common food and drink items that can give us bad breath, many fragrant or spicy foods can leave us with temporary bad breath. In general you can brush your teeth, chew some sugar-free gum, or use mouthwash to get instant relief.


The use of tobacco products like chewing tobacco or smoking can not only cause bad breath but can create many more serious oral health issues. The less important consequences like stained teeth, irritated gums and bad breath are some side effects. The more important one, and longer lasting, is the different oral cancers that can be created. Consider completely eliminating tobacco to reduce the negative effects.

Dental issues

Sometimes dental issues such as cavities or gum disease are the root of your problems. Whether you have poorly fitted dental appliances or crowded teeth, these can many times be the cause of bad breath and it’s good to consult with your dentist to find out if this is the culprit.


A good oral hygiene routine, such as flossing, brushing your teeth and regularly scheduled visits to your dentist can help with mouth bacteria. As bacteria adheres itself to the crevices in your mouth it can lead to bad breath and other oral issues. Following the ADA recommendation of flossing daily, brushing twice a day, and routine visits to the dentist, you can keep bacteria in bay.

Dry mouth

When the mouth lacks saliva one is left with dry mouth. Saliva is a natural part of your digestive system that helps rinse the mouth of bacteria and breaks down food. Different medications, smoking and breathing may be symptom of an underlying health concern which presents itself as dry mouth. Your dentist can talk you through this and advise the best way forward to prevent dry mouth which results in bad breath.


Bad breath can result from a slew of diseases such as sinus infections, tonsillitis, respiratory issues and even diabetes. Some medications for these conditions may make your bad breath even worse so it is good to dialogue with your doctor if the side effects are becoming problematic for you.

Getting To The Root

The best way to help improve your bad breath is to truly know what the root of the issue is causing it. Sometimes it is an easy and quick fix like using mouthwash, flossing and being more consistent at brushing your teeth. Sometimes they can be lifestyle changes that need to take place in order to help improve your bad breath. Have a candid conversation with your dentist and/or doctor about what is going on and the best way to fix. It may be difficult for you to make some of the necessary changes but those changes can help avoid possible bigger issues in the future.

Come See Us!!

At Swish Dental we are always here to promote you and your smile. From General Dentistry, Family Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, to Invisalign and Sleep Apnea Treatment, making you smile is what makes us smile. We’d love to walk with you on your dental journey today!

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Last Modified:
August 23, 2023