Bad Breath – Causes, Symptoms and Remedies

bad breath symptoms with cosmetic dentist in boca raton

According to WebMD, bad breath, also known medically as halitosis, can result from build-up of bacteria in the mouth. The action of bacteria breaking down food particles trapped in the teeth or mouth, releases unpleasant-smelling gas. Halitosis can also be a sign of gum disease or it may come about because of eating flavored food items or engaging in unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Causes of bad breath



Digestion of most classes of food begin in the mouth. This breakdown increases bacterial action, which most certainly brings about foul odor. Certain foods, foster bad breathe because of their chemical components. When foods with strong flavors and odor such as garlic, onions, cheese, spices, soda and certain kinds of spices breakdown upon digestion and enter the bloodstream, they end up in the lungs where they affect breath. Until such foods leave your system, flossing or brushing only masks their odor.

Tobacco and alcohol

Smoking or consuming tobacco products orally brings about unpleasant odor in the mouth. Moreover, this lifestyle habit also fosters gum disease, which is another cause of foul breath. Taking a lot of alcohol in one sitting also has its disadvantages. Some kinds of alcohol like draft bear attract increased bacterial action and a foul after breath.

Poor dental hygiene

Failing to brush or floss daily leads to build up of food particles on the teeth. This can lead to plaque, a colorless, sticky film of bacteria on the teeth. Plaque irritates teeth and leads to gingivitis, which may degenerate into periodontitis if plaque fills the pockets between the teeth and gum. The tongue has an uneven surface, which bacteria find hospitable. All these help increase bacterial action, which in turn increases bad breath.

Dry mouth

Saliva cleans your mouth and helps remove food particles that may exacerbate bad breath. Dry mouth, also called Xerostomia, contributes to foul breath because it leads to decreased production of saliva. Dry mouth occurs at night hence the ‘morning breath’. It gets worse if you sleep with an open mouth. Infections of the salivary glands and some kinds of medication can also cause dry mouth.

Oral infections

Bad breath can arise from wounds that result from oral surgical procedures like tooth extraction. Mouth sores, gum disease and tooth decay can also bring about foul breath.

Throat and nasal infections

Infections and inflammation of the throat and nose lead to the formation of small stones in the throat. Bacteria will thrive in such an environment and produce odorous chemicals in the process. Nasal inflammations may cause postnasal drip, which also causes bad breath.


Certain medication encourage foul breath by causing dry mouth. Others break down into chemicals that get into your bloodstream and into your lungs, messing up your breath.

Kidney failure

Renal failure leads to uremia, which refers to unhealthy buildup of waste materiel in the blood. Patients suffering kidney failure admit that food taste different and that their breath turns foul.


Causes high blood sugar, a condition that makes patients prone to gum disease, which is a precursor to foul breath. Diabetics also use little sugar as opposed to fats. This leads to the production of ketones, which the body expels through either body waste or breath leading to bad odor.

Gastric cancer, metabolic disorders and malnutrition

Metabolic disorders such as gastric cancer cause distinctive breaths due to the chemicals produced. Similarly, reflux of gastric acids due to improper feeding can cause bad breath.


How to resolve bad breath

Improper oral hygiene is the leading cause of bad breath. As such, brush after each meal and floss at least a couple of times each day. People with dentures should remove and clean them at night to halt the buildup of bacteria. Along with brushing, scrape your tongue every morning to eliminate dead cells, bacteria and fungi that may cause bad breath.

Chew a handful of aniseeds, fennel seeds and cloves. These have antiseptic effect that fight oral bacterial that cause bad breath. Chewing a piece of orange rind or lemon also helps. Citric acid stimulates the salivary glands. Green plants have chlorophyll that neutralizes bad odor. Chewing mints, paisley, basil or cilantro as such, does help.

Drink a lot of water and swish a bit of this around in your mouth. You can also try an alcohol-free mouthwash. Mixing a teaspoon of baking soda in warm water can achieve a lot.

Replace your toothbrush regularly and have dentist’s appointment just as regularly.


When to see your dentist about bad breath

If bad breath persists after making the above adjustments then you need to see a dentist such as Cosmetic Dentist in Boca Raton as the symptoms may signify a medical condition that needs investigating. While visiting your dentist, do not mask the smell as this may complicate diagnosis.