Causes of Bad Breath

8 of the Most Common Causes of Bad Breath

Everyone has a distinct scent that they can be identified with. Unfortunately, there are cases where some people are recognized for the bad odors they emit. Bad breath is a common example of this, especially with about 50% of the population having halitosis.

This number is easily explained by the many causes of bad breath. Having a foul-smelling breath can is apparently brought on by a myriad of factors, so it’s not impossible for lots of people to be afflicted with the condition.

Wondering what can cause bad breath? We’ve listed a few below.

Common Causes of Foul Breath

Poor Dental Hygiene

When someone’s breath smells foul, the first thing people blame is their poor dental hygiene. Most of the time, they’re correct. Studies show that bad breath is largely caused by poor dental hygiene. Most cases are caused by tooth decay, cavities, rotting particles of food that are left stuck in between the teeth, plaque buildup, and bacterial growth.

This is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are tons of different products made for dental hygiene. While brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash can already be enough for most people, certain innovations to make the task easier is also welcome. Products like tongue scrapers and even water flossers are also making a buzz lately.

Use a Water Flosser


If you often have a dry mouth, the odds are high that your breath will smell bad as well. Next to poor dental hygiene, dehydration is another most common bad breath causes.

Experts say that if your mouth is dehydrated, there won’t be enough saliva to cleanse it. This means that the food and bacteria in your mouth will stay in it longer, so the smell will be heightened. This also explains “morning breath”.


This one’s another no-brainer. Tobacco will leave chemicals in your mouth that can smell bad. It’s also a common cause of gum diseases and oral cancer which are major causes of really bad breath.

Your Diet

The food you eat will also naturally affect the smell of your breath. Aside from the food particles that can get stuck in the gaps between your teeth, what you eat will also affect how your breath smells.

Sometimes, you can even tell on your own how your breath smells. This is particularly true after eating something with a strong scent. Usually, if you consumed a lot of garlic, onions, or fresh seafood, you’ll be able to tell that your breath smells like the food you just ate.

It’s also common for some foods to continue affecting your breath even after you have digested them. So if you tend to eat a lot of certain foods regularly, they can eventually mix into how your breath smells.

The production of ketones can also be blamed for bad breath. These body chemicals are often produced when you’re fasting or while on a low-carb diet. It has a strong aroma and it’s not very pleasant, so it can also result in a foul-smelling breath.

Have a Good Diet

Too Much Time Outdoors

This might sound bizarre, but some experts actually say that spending too much outside is also one of the many reasons for bad breath. It has a lot to do with your mouth drying up when you spend prolonged periods outside while doing something physical.

Add to this other factors like cold air, pollution, and pollens in the air and your nasal passages will have a lot to deal with. Combined with the dryness of the mouth, the possible infections can easily result in bad breath.


If you have severe allergies, chances are good that your breath can smell bad when unmanaged. Most allergic reactions and medications can cause dry mouth, so the mouth can easily smell bad as a result.


With your mouth teeming with bacteria, a small cut or tear can also easily lead to an infection. These incidents can be caused by lots of things but can always result in an infection.

Wearing ill-fitting dentures and braces are two of the most popular reasons why you can get sores and cuts in your mouth, though. So if you wear or intend to wear any of the two, make sure to have them sized properly and accurately.

Use Mouthwash Properly

A Serious Ailment

In some unfortunate instances, a serious illness could be what causes bad breath for some people. Stinky breath can be a symptom of a liver or kidney disease, diabetes, renal failure, asthma, or even throat cancer.

This is why those who continue to suffer from chronic bad breath even after addressing various causes of the condition should see a specialist right away. Your breath might be telling you something important, so you should pay attention to it.


As this list will tell you, the causes of smelly breath can range from something manageable to serious. No matter what the case is, however, having bad breath should never be ignored. You shouldn’t ignore the fact that it can be something graver than just needing to brush your teeth.

About the Author Samantha Brown

Growing up as a kid who played outside, Samantha enjoys an active lifestyle and emphasizes health as a key component to her life. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with others so that anybody can live a healthy life. On the weekends, you can find her hiking around Southern California!

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