What Causes Bad Breath?

Halitosis (chronic bad breath) is an embarrassing condition that can affect your personal, private, and professional life. Even if your friends aren’t saying anything, you’re aware of the problem.

Fortunately, a Kois Center dentist is one of your best resources at pinpointing the exact cause…so that you can keep it from coming back. Here are a few factors to watch for:

Dry Mouth

When the natural flora inside of your mouth is altered, odorous bacteria can become plentiful. Xerostomia (dry mouth) is a common result of many medications. But even self-care products like mouthwash often contain alcohol, which is a naturally drying agent.


Breath mints, gum, and sweetened drinks (even if they’re artificially sweetened) can feed bacteria and cause them to multiply. While a mint or gum may offer short-term immediate relief, the symptoms of bad breath can be worse within the hour. Opt for products that contain Xylitol, which inhibit biofilm buildup.

Tongue Surfaces

Approximately 90% of bad breath bacteria reside somewhere on the surface of your tongue. Covered in hundreds of tiny papillae, your tongue is a convenient host for bacteria. Use a special tongue cleaner to wipe away buildup a few times a day; you might just be surprised at how much film it removes.

GI Health Issues

Believe it or not, some of the causes of bad breath may not come from your mouth at all. It could be a gastrointestinal issue or health condition causing odors to come up through your digestive tract and into your mouth. If you and your dentist cannot pinpoint the cause of your halitosis, it’s time to see your physician!

Food Selection

Sure, garlic can leave a strong and lingering smell for a while, but other foods like eggs and milk can cause a delayed effect. Sulphur compounds can cause odorous bacteria to multiply well after your meal is over. Keep a food diary and mark when you notice symptoms of halitosis, then bring it with you to your dental checkup to see if there’s any correlation in your food choices and the problem at hand.

Periodontal Disease

When addressing the previous issues doesn’t seem to help with relieving symptoms of breath malodor, it’s likely that the halitosis is caused by an infection within the gum tissues surrounding your teeth. Chronic gum disease is known for harboring potent bacteria that cannot be reached with a toothbrush or floss, leading to ongoing symptoms of bad breath.

Seeing a dentist for a periodontal exam will provide you with fast answers as to if a gum infection is causing bad breath and equip you with a straightforward solution to correct it. Usually a series of deep cleanings or other soft tissue therapies such as laser treatment are adequate for eliminating the infection and managing relapse.

Confidential Advice from Your Dentist

Kois Center dentists understand the social and emotional challenges of battling bad breath. If you’re struggling to manage halitosis or severe malodor, ask your dentist what can be done to help. You’ll receive honest and straightforward advice on the primary cause of the concern and what can be done to help. Contact a Kois Center dentist in your area today.