Causes of Bad Breath

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath can spoil your first impression and could lead to social embarrassment. Making simple lifestyle changes, such as brushing your teeth daily, flossing teeth and drinking plenty of water can easily help you avoid this problem. The causes of bad breath may vary from person to person based on their health condition, food & lifestyle habits. Let’s have a look at some of the usual causes:

Poor dental hygiene

If you do not follow a good dental hygiene like brushing and flossing daily it can lead to bad breath. Due to the food particles remaining on the surface of your teeth, a colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth. If not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums (periodontitis). Along with the teeth, your tongue also can trap bacteria that produce odors, that’s why it is important to clean your tongue too on a daily basis.

Eating certain foods

Consumption of foods such as onions, garlic and spices can cause bad breath.


Smoking can cause an unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum diseases.

Dry mouth

A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia, can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to morning breath, and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open. Chronic dry mouth can be caused by a problem with your salivary glands and some diseases.

Some medications

Certain medicines can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath.

Other reasons

Overall health conditions including some cancers or metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive odor. Chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) can also contribute to bad breath.

If simple self-care techniques don’t solve the problem, see your dentist to check if a more serious condition is causing the bad breath.