Top 10 Causes of Bad Breath & Prevention Tips

TeamOral Health

Everyone is vulnerable to having bad breath from time to time. For example, “morning breath,” affects everyone. However, there are certain foods, substances, and underlying conditions that can lead to chronic bad breath. Read on for 10 causes of bad breath, and how to prevent it. 

1. Bacteria

Bacteria can be thought of as the root cause for most bad breath. Bacteria live naturally on the surface of the tongue and in your throat, as it is needed to break down food. Bacteria are also introduced to the mouth via foods.  When the bacteria build up on your teeth in the form of plaque, it can cause bad breath. 

2. Poor Oral Hygiene

If you don’t practice good oral hygiene it will be incredibly difficult to prevent bad breath. Brushing and flossing help to remove bacteria and food from your teeth which when mixed with your saliva can create a foul smell. You should also see a dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. 

4. Tobacco & Vaping

Cigarettes and other forms of smokeless tobacco cause bad breath. Likewise vaping can contribute to increased bacteria in your mouth, and lead to dry mouth which causes bad breath.

5. Foods

Onions and garlic are known for causing bad breath, but they aren’t the only foods that can make your breath smell bad. Other foods known to cause bad breath include meat, dairy, juice, canned fish, cheese, and peanut butter.


6. Oral Infection

An infection in your gums, such as gingivitis, periodontitis, or an infected tooth can cause bad breath. Bad breath is a leading symptom of periodontal disease. If you have bad breath, and a bad taste in your mouth be sure to see a dentist to treat possible gum disease.

7. Underlying Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions and diseases are known to cause bad breath. These include kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, cancers, GERD, heartburn, and others. 

8. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is the familiar term for a lack of saliva. Saliva is necessary for flushing out bacteria. When saliva production decreases, the bacteria in your mouth may cause bad breath. Dry mouth is typically the cause of morning breath. Unfortunately, dry mouth is also a side effect of many types of medication. 

9. Prescription & Over-the-Counter Medications

Many medications list dry mouth as a side effect, which can lead to bad breath. Some, but not all of the medications that can cause bad breath include antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, diuretics, and migraine medicines may all cause bad breath. 

10. Cold/Respiratory Illness

The common cold, the flu, bronchitis, and other respiratory infections can all cause bad breath because they lead to infected mucus in the back of the throat. 

11. Coffee

Millions of people rely on coffee to help get going in the morning. Unfortunately coffee is a common cause of bad breath. This is because caffeine leads to a reduction in saliva, giving coffee drinkers a dry mouth, and frequently bad breath. 

Preventing Bad Breath

The best way to prevent bad breath is to be proactive about oral health. To maintain excellent oral hygiene:

  • Brush  Your Teeth Twice a Day for a Full Two Minutes Each Time
  • Brush or Scrape Your Tongue 
  • Floss Daily
  • Have Twice Yearly Dental Cleanings and Exams
  • Avoid all Tobacco Products
  • Minimize Consumption of Foods Known to Cause Bad Breath
  • Use a Mouthwash
  • Chew Sugarless Gum
  • Drink Lots of Water

Schedule a Dental Cleaning and Exam in Germantown, MD

Regular dental cleanings and exams are essential to maintaining excellent oral health, and to prevent or manage bad breath. Total Dental Care provides comprehensive dental care, ranging from routine cleaning and examinations to oral surgery and everything in between. Contact us today at 240-813-9111 , or request an appointment online.