4 Common Causes of Bad Breath

Oral Hygiene Basics McLean, VA

Almost everybody experiences bad breath occasionally. But for some individuals, this is a daily issue. It is important to know what causes bad breath in order to help you reduce the risk. Read on to learn more about what causes your halitosis.

Causes of bad breath

Bad breath is triggered by multiple things. It can originate both outside and inside the mouth. However, most times, it starts in the mouth. Here are four of the most common causes of bad breath.


Hundreds of types of bacteria that cause bad breath live in the mouth. The mouth acts like a natural hothouse. This allows bacteria to grow. When someone eats, bacteria feed on the remaining food left in the mouth, and this eventually leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is when a person does not have enough saliva to keep the mouth wet and moisturized. Saliva is important because it washes out the mouth. If a person does not have enough, the mouth will not be cleaned as much as it should be. Everyone has a dry mouth occasionally, especially if people are nervous, under stress or upset.

However, if a person has dry mouth most or all of the time, it is not only uncomfortable, but it can also lead to more serious health issues. It can even indicate that a serious medical condition exists. Dry mouth can be caused by particular medications, salivary gland issues or even simply by breathing excessively through the mouth.

Gum disease

Bad breath that will not go away or a constant bad taste in the mouth can be due to advanced gum disease. This condition is an infection of the tissues that support and surround the teeth. Gum disease is usually painless, and people often do not know they have it. It is caused by plaque, the sticky bacterial film that is constantly forming on the teeth. Plaque bacteria occur naturally in the mouth and usually give off an odor that affects people’s breath.


Diet is a common cause of bad breath. Foods such as onions and garlic can foul the mouth. Other foods that can leave a lingering smell include spices such as curry, spicy foods, fish, some types of cheese and acidic beverages such as coffee. Once the food is digested, chemicals that cause bad breath can be absorbed into the bloodstream and later on into the lungs. These chemicals are then exhaled. Diets high in protein and sugar have also been associated with halitosis.

Contact your dentist

Causes of bad breath include bacteria, dry mouth, gum disease and certain foods. If you are not sure of what is causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see your dentist. Visiting a general dentistry occasionally is highly recommended. Regular checkups will allow your dentist to detect any problems such as dry mouth or gum disease. Your dentist can stop these problems early before they become more serious.

Request an appointment here: https://www.oaktreefamilydental.com or call Oak Tree Dental at (703) 763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Oral Hygiene Basics in McLean, VA.

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