Causes of Bad Breath


Black and White Photo of Man Covering His Mouth

The mouth’s warm, moist conditions make it the ideal place for the millions of bacteria found in the mouth and on the tongue to multiply. Although grocery store shelves are lined with mints, gum, and mouthwash to fight bad breath, they are only temporary fixes and don’t address the root of the problem – bacteria in the mouth. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, has varying extremities and origins such as the oral hygiene, smoking habits, and health conditions. Most cases originate in the mouth and are improved with proper, consistent dental hygiene but others may be caused by a more serious oral health or medical issue and require the attention of a physician or your Academy Dental Care expert dentist.

Poor Dental Hygiene
Without standard practices of oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing, and routine dental visits, food particles can remain in your mouth and cause plaque build-up, a thin layer of odorous bacteria. Particles can also get trapped on the uneven surfaces of your tongue and tonsils and produce foul smelling odors. Furthermore, matters can be made worse without the necessary care, causing cavities or gum disease, which both contribute to bad breath odor.

Smoking and Tobacco
Smoking and tobacco have an unpleasant odor on their own that is absorbed and released from the mouth. Because these both cause damage to gums, gum disease is more common amongst smokers and oral tobacco users. Smoking and tobacco also hurt the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight the bacteria causing bad breath.

Dry Mouth
Saliva helps to fight bad breath by keeping your mouth clean and washing away leftover food particles. Xerostomia is a dry mouth condition where the lack or absence of saliva production causes bad breath by changing the PH balance and making the mouth more susceptible to bacteria. This is the same as “morning breath” and can be caused by certain medications, breathing through your mouth, or salivary gland problems.

Many medications contribute to dry mouth while others are broken down and release odorous chemicals that are then transferred through the bloodstream and similar to food, travel to the lungs and are eventually breathed out.

Medical Conditions and Other Contributing Factors
Although most bad breath is produced by odor-causing bacteria, it may also be a warning sign of a more serious health condition such as a respiratory tract infection, diabetes, mouth infections, tonsil infections, sinus problems, liver and kidney issues, and in some cases, cancer. Poor digestion and acid reflux are also contributors, as the odors from recently eaten foods make their way back into the mouth. Low-carb, and high sugar and protein diets interact with bacteria or affect the body’s metabolism, and in turn, affect your breath. The overconsumption of alcohol is also a contributing factor, as it produces an environment where bacteria thrive because it lessens the production of saliva and makes the mouth dry.

At Academy Dental Care in Albuquerque, we’ve adopted the most cutting-edge treatments and technology to help our patients improve and maintain their oral health. Even though there are many home remedies or lifestyle changes that can aid in reducing bad breath, the first and most crucial step is to schedule an appointment with us. 9 times out of 10, bad breath is not a temporary issue but a sign that the mouth is not healthy. If not treated properly, the above causes can develop into more serious diseases such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. Scheduling an appointment allows your ADC dentist to properly diagnose and treat the problem by providing a bacterial test which can identify which strains are present and what stages they are in, provide a treatment plan, and prevent the issue from worsening by catching it at the early stages.

If you’re experiencing bad breath, trust the experienced staff of Academy Dental Care to help you regain control of your oral hygiene and call us at 505-828-2020 to schedule a consultation!