What Causes Bad Breath?

October 26, 2021

There is probably at least one person in your life with the misfortune of having bad breath. Whether this was chronic or just after a potent lunch, memories of ‘stink breath’ have most likely stuck in your mind. If you can’t remember anyone, maybe that person was you! Sadly, most people don’t realize that bad breath can be more than just broccoli remnants in your teeth. Bad breath can be a sign of severe health problems. In this blog, we cover what causes bad breath.

Decay Usually Means Odor

man with bad breath

If you have ever walked through a forested area with dead trees or decomposing organic material, you may recall a powerful smell. The smell is that of decay. When something starts to rot, it becomes very smelly. The same is true with your teeth. If you have a cavity (which 90% of Americans have had in their lifetime), then you have suffered from tooth decay. Depending on the severity, you may have even smelled the decay yourself! Cavities are one of the leading causes of bad breath. If these go untreated, your tooth decay can turn to infection. Therefore, it is wise to schedule an appointment with your dentist if you notice yourself having chronic bad breath.

Underlying Health Issues

There is an assumption that bad breath is caused by something in your mouth, but in fact, it can be a symptom of something going on much deeper internally. For example, diabetes is one serious culprit of bad breath. When you have high blood sugar levels in your body, it increases the glucose in your saliva. An increase in glucose gives those sugar bugs more feasting opportunities in your mouth, leading to dental plaque, cavities, and, yet again, tooth decay.

In addition to diabetes, bad breath can also signal problems with your liver or kidneys. Your liver and kidneys do a marvelous job of filtering out bacteria and urea in your bloodstream, but when these organs become diseased, the urea and bacteria become excess and can trigger bad breath. These diseases would be the more severe side of bad breath, so make sure to talk to your dentist if this is a concern.

Preventing Bad Breath

No one wants to walk through life with bad breath. But, whether it is caused by a smelly lunch, a cavity, or something more serious, there are some things you can do to prevent bad breath.

  1. Brush Your Teeth. Dentists recommend brushing twice per day for 2 minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Remember to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
  2. Floss and Wash. Flossing once per day to get out the gunk a toothbrush may have missed and following up with a bacteria-killing mouthwash will deter bad breath from developing.
  3. Watch Your Diet. Different foods can linger in your mouth for different periods. Take a few days to watch your diet, notice which foods are triggering bad breath, and eliminate them if possible.
  4. Regular Dental Visits. It is essential to see a dentist at least twice per year, and more if recommended. A thorough cleaning, exam, and set of x-rays will help determine if any underlying health issues are causing bad breath and will give your mouth an excellent deep cleaning so your breath stays fresh for the months ahead. Right now, new patients can schedule this initial visit for only $59!

Visit Us at Central Park Modern Dentistry

If you have additional questions or want more resources about what causes bad breath, our excellent providers at Central Park Modern Dentistry would love to help you. So please schedule an appointment and let us help give you a healthy mouth and smile.