What's That Smell? A Guide To Common Causes Of Bad Breath

Dentist Blog

Does your breath often smell unpleasant? Maybe you notice the problem yourself, or perhaps others have told you about your mouth's unpleasant odor. Regardless, there are several potential causes of bad breath to explore and consider addressing.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Be honest with yourself. Are you really brushing your teeth twice per day, replacing your toothbrush every 3 months, and flossing daily as recommended by the ADA?  Using mouthwash is not a substitute for proper tooth brushing. If you're skimping on your oral hygiene routine, this is the most obvious cause of bad breath. Brushing more thoroughly and often, flossing daily, and then finishing with an antiseptic mouthwash is likely to help.


Smoking tobacco dries your mouth out, making it a favorable environment for the smelly oral bacteria that cause bad breath. If you're a smoker, drinking water throughout the day can help ease your bad breath. Of course, the best thing to do is to quit smoking. If you've tried to quit before and have not been successful, talk to your doctor about other methods you can try. Support groups and nicotine patches work for many people.


Many prescription medications also cause dry mouth—and the bad breath that ensues. If you're taking an antidepressant, allergy medication, antihistamine, pain reliever, or anxiety medication, especially, speak with your doctor. They may be able to change your dose or switch you to a comparable medication that won't have this side effect. If switching medications is not possible, your dentist may recommend taking a medication to increase saliva production. This should help fight oral bacteria, easing your bad breath symptoms.

Tooth Decay

Sometimes bad breath is caused by tooth decay. You cannot always see tooth decay, since it may occur between teeth or on your upper molars. Sometimes, it causes tooth sensitivity too, but this is not always the case. Bad breath might be your only symptom of tooth decay.  If you're pretty sure your bad breath is not perpetuated by dry mouth caused by smoking or medications, then visit your dentist to have your teeth checked for decay. The earlier tooth decay is treated, the smaller your chance of losing the tooth.

If you have bad breath, don't ignore the issue. Most causes of bad breath will eventually lead to bigger issues, like tooth decay or lost teeth, if you do not deal with them. If you're having trouble getting to the bottom of your bad breath, speak with a dentist, such as Dillon Family Dental PLLC.


19 February 2016

Understanding Dental Problems

Do you have "bad teeth"? I do. Ever since I was a kid, every checkup turns up a number of issues ranging from cavities to dental fractures. It has always been frustrating to keep my smile in decent shape, which is one of the reasons I started focusing on understanding different dental problems. I wanted to know what I was getting into when I visited the doctor, so I began focusing on learning as much as I could. I wanted to create this blog all about dentistry so that other people could find out what to expect when they head to the dentist. Check it out!