What Causes Bad Breath?

What Causes Bad Breath?

In a conversation with a patient this week we were discussing the causes of bad breath and so I though I would share some common causes to bring it to your attention – you might want to share with a friend.

The Tongue

Because bacteria grows on the tongue, this could be a cause for bad breath. You can either clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. If you use a tongue scraper be sure metal as they can be sharp and avoid brittle plastic as they often break.

A Cold

If you have a cold this could cause bad breath especially if it is bronchitis or a respiratory tract infection. The bacteria that feeds on the mucus causes an odor and because of a stuffy nose one usually breaths out of their mouth more which also causes dry mouth.

Dieting Food

We’re not telling you to stop your diet, but diets that follow a low carb and boost in protein does help the body burn fat for energy and it also creates compounds called ketones – that is what causes bad breath. For this incident the best bet is to use sugar-free gun and mask your breath.

What You Drink

Even though alcohol is a liquid it can actually dry out your mouth, which encourages the bacteria halitoses and that is the cause of bad breath. Also, caffeine, spicy foods and cigarettes can cause halitoses as well. You will also have “morning breath” caused by dry mouth if you are not making enough saliva while you sleep.


The ulcer itself does not cause bad breath, but the bacteria that causes the ulcer will, Helicobacter Pylori. Treating the bacteria will help with the bad breath and your family doctor could prescribe antibiotics for it.

Tonsil Stones

Have you heard of Tonsil Stones? These are whitish clusters in the rights of your tonsils and on the back of your tongue that are made up of food particles, dead cells, bacteria and mucus. They are harmless, but they do smell. They do usually dislodge on their own, you can help my gargling with salt water.

Dried Fruit

It’s very high in sugar, and odor-causing bacteria love to feed on the stuff. A reasonable 1/4 cup of raisins has 21 grams of sugar; the same amount of dried apricots has 17 grams. That’s like eating 4-5 teaspoons of pure sugar. Plus, dried fruit is sticky, so it can get trapped on and between your teeth. After a snack, be sure to floss and brush.


There are more than 400 prescriptions and over the counter drugs that can stifle saliva flow. If you have a medication that drys your mouth we suggest that you drink a lot of water and chew sugarless gum to keep your moth moist. You might also consider oral rinses to help.

Fillings and Cracked Teeth

Food particles can become trapped and breed bacteria, this also results in gum disease, cavities and bad breath. Also, if your denture to not fit properly this could cause problems and bad breath. Make sure to see us twice a year so we can keep an eye on any potential problems.

Heartburn or Acid Reflux

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a common digestive disorder that can cause bad breath as some undigested food is coming back up or irritation from stomach acid gives you a postnasal drip. You should get assistance from your family doctor if you get heartburn often.

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