Causes of Bad Breath (Halitosis)

on November 20, 2013

Halitosis can be an embarrassing condition, especially as most people who suffer with it, can’ttell that they have bad breath. There are a number of different reasons why halitosis occurs.


The most common and well known cause of bad breath is the food you eat. When you eat foods with strong odors they are consumed and absorbed into your blood stream. Brushing your teeth, flossing, chewing gum or mints can all be used to cover up or mask the odor. The compounds that cause bad breath are absorbed into the blood stream and the only way to get rid of this type of bad breath is, time.

Heavy alcohol consumption also causes bad breath, as the alcohol dries out the tissues in your mouth.

Dry Mouth

Saliva helps moisten your mouth and keep your mouth clean. If you are a mouth breather or suffer from dry mouth, then there is less saliva in your mouth to remove debris and help neutralize your pH. This can lead to a larger bacteria population and may cause bad breath. If you suffer from dry mouth, try chewing gum or drinking water to keep your mouth moist. At our Evanston dentist office we also recommend Spry Rain Oral Mist to help moisturize your mouth.

Do not use a mouth wash that contains alcohol as this may exacerbate the problem. Instead swish with water or a xylitol mouth wash as this will help stimulate your saliva production.

Bacteria and Periodontal Disease

When the bacteria population in your mouth gets out of control, you may suffer from bad breath. Brushing your teeth, flossing, and cleaning your tongue can all help keep the bacteria population under control and reduce bad breath. Chronic bad breath is also a symptom of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused when plaque and tartar build up and irritate the gums. Bacteria can then get below the gumline and cause even more plaque and tartar to form increasing the odor produced.


Some medications have side effects that can lead to bad breath, such as dry mouth. If you find that your medication is causing dry mouth, take extra steps to moisturize your mouth to avoid bad breath.

Bad breath can be awkward, but if you take precautions and maintain great oral health, it doesn’t have to be. If you find that you have persistent bad breath and nothing seems to be working to correct it, contact our Evanston dental office to set up a consultation. Our dentists will help you find out if it is related to a dental condition.

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