Almost everyone has bad breath from time to time. But for some people, bad breath is a daily problem and they have difficulty finding a solution. About 30% of the world population complains of bad breath. Here we look at the causes of bad breath and what can be done about it.

What Causes Bad Breath?

There are many reasons why you can have bad breath. Although many causes are not serious, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something worse.


Halitosis can occur at any time thanks to hundreds of types of bacteria that cause bad breath and naturally live in the mouth. Your mouth and tongue also act as a natural sanctuary in which these bacteria can grow. When eating, the bacteria feed on food in the mouth, leaving the unpleasant smell of waste.

Dry Mouth

Does your mouth feel dry? Your mouth may not make enough saliva. Saliva is important because it keeps your mouth clean round the clock and if you do not have enough, your mouth will not be cleaned as thoroughly as it should be.

Dry mouth can also be caused by some medications, problems with the salivary glands or when you consistently breathe through the mouth, all of which can lead to persistent mouth odour.

Spicy Food and Drink

After eating certain foods – such as onions, garlic, some vegetables and spices – food particles that cause an unpleasant smell get into the bloodstream and are transported to the lungs, where they affect the smell of breath every time you exhale.

High Protein or Low Carbohydrate Diets

Carbohydrates perform important functions in our body. If the diet is low in carbohydrates, it can lead to bad breath. If the body does not receive enough carbohydrates due to an extreme diet, this can lead to changes in the body’s metabolism, which can lead to bad breath.

Protein-rich foods are sometimes difficult to digest in the body and tend to release gases containing sulphur if they are not properly metabolized. To avoid this, eat a more balanced and nutritious diet that includes vegetables and fruits.


Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and creates various health risk problems.

Tobacco reduces the ability to taste food and irritates the gums.

Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease.

Because smoking also affects the sense of smell, smokers may not know that their breath smells bad.

Gum Disease

Bad breath that just doesn’t go away or a constantly unpleasant taste in the mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease caused by a sticky bacterium that causes cavities, called plaque.

Fortunately, bad breath caused by poor dental health can be treated. If you are in Louisiana, you can explore dental treatment options at Tiger Smile Dental – Baton Rouge, or any other dental expert in your area.

Other Health Conditions

Respiratory tract infections such as sinusitis or bronchitis, tonsillitis, and some gastrointestinal disorders may be responsible for a small number of cases of bad breath.

Advanced kidney or liver disease and severe diabetes can also cause bad breath. In cases like these, a person may experience significant signs beyond bad breath and should see a doctor.

You Just Think you have Bad Breath

About 1% of people may have a problem called halitophobia – a false assumption that they have bad breath. This is a serious condition that is extremely debilitating.

People with this condition are absolutely convinced that their bad breath scares off other people, even after the dentist has confirmed that they do not suffer from this disease.

Unfortunately, this problem is not well studied, but if you suspect you may have it, it is important to seek help from a counsellor or specialist.

Tips for Improving Bad Breath

Here are some helpful tips on how to improve bad breath:

  • Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day after meals.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco-based products.
  • Rinse with mouthwash without alcohol and gargle before bedtime.
  • If you have a dry mouth, drink enough fluids throughout the day and use over-the-counter moisturizers, such as a dry mouth spray, or a dry mouth moisturizer.

If you don’t notice any improvement, you can make an appointment with your dentist.

Final Words

Remember that oral causes are responsible for most bad breath. If you’re worried about what causes bad breath, make an appointment with your dentist. Regular inspections allow dentists to identify and stop problems such as gum disease or dry mouth before they get more serious.

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