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Top 8 Most Common Causes of Bad Breath

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Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is caused by microbial activity that occurs on the tongue and in the mouth. Generally, when people brush their teeth daily they are able to prevent bad breath. When people don’t brush their teeth regularly, the bacteria builds up and starts to produce chemicals that can cause halitosis. Medical conditions, such as gum disease, diabetes, and liver problems can also lead to bad breath. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath, but there are other causes that should be considered as well. In this article, we will be discussing the top most common causes of bad breath.



The most common cause of bad breath is from food particles trapped between teeth. Not brushing your teeth daily allows plaque to build upon the teeth. Plaque contains bacteria, which ferment starches from food left in the mouth. Foods high in starch are bread, cereals, etc., but these types of foods are not solely responsible for causing bad breath; they only contribute to it when there is poor oral hygiene. The more sugary a person’s diet is also contributing to having an increased amount of sugar in the mouth, which feeds the bacteria and causes odor.

Lack Of Brushing


Lack of hygiene is one of the leading causes of bad breath. Not brushing teeth regularly or using a tongue scraper can cause bacteria to build upon the tongue. This bacteria will release an unpleasant odor when it dies. It’s also important to floss daily between teeth as food particles that are left there will decay and release an odor as well.

There are many causes of bad breath, but most of them can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and using a tongue scraper can help remove bacteria and food particles from your mouth that may cause bad breath. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes can also help keep your mouth healthy and free from bad breath.



Drinking coffee on a regular basis can also cause bad breath. This is because coffee is a natural diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more often. When you urinate, your body gets rid of excess water and minerals. This includes the water that’s in your mouth, which helps to rinse away bacteria and food particles. If you don’t drink enough water throughout the day to make up for the amount of coffee you’ve consumed, you may start to experience a dry mouth and bad breath.

Drinking Alcohol


Drinking a lot of alcohol can also cause a person to have bad breath. A substance from alcoholic drinks called acetaldehyde is broken down or metabolized in our bodies to acetic acid, carbon dioxide, and water. If you drink a lot of alcohol on a daily basis, your body’s ability to break down this molecule slows as the liver becomes overloaded with toxins.

When this happens, some people experience dry mouth, where there isn’t enough saliva being produced by glands in the mouth. Saliva helps rinse away food particles that get stuck between teeth, keeping them clean and stopping them from decaying. Without too much saliva, bacteria begin to produce more smelling substances which cause someone’s bad breath.



Nicotine from cigarettes not only causes bad breath, but it’s also one of the leading causes of gum disease and cavities. Smoking dries out the mouth, which allows bacteria to grow more easily. Cigarette smoke also contains lots of chemicals that stain teeth and cause plaque to build upon them faster. Smoking also causes wrinkles in the mouth that result in particles becoming trapped between them. it’s estimated that around 20% of adults smoke cigarettes regularly. This means that over 1 out of 5 people are causing themselves to have bad breath on a daily basis, which other people may notice and not be able to tell them about due to social norms.



Taking certain drugs can make a person more likely to develop bad breath. Drugs like diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, medications for yeast infections, some cancer treatments, birth control pills that contain estrogen can all cause dry mouth as a side effect. This lack of saliva means there is less liquid in the mouth to rinse away food particles from between teeth and gums. In severe cases, this lack of liquid may also create an unpleasant taste in the mouth as well as give off a strong odor.



There are a number of diseases that can cause bad breath. One is gum disease, which is caused by plaque build-up on teeth. When gums become infected, they may swell and bleed easily. This plaque also causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.

Diabetes is another disease that can lead to bad breath. People with diabetes often have a condition called ketoacidosis, which is an emergency situation where the body starts breaking down fat for energy instead of sugar. This process produces ketones, which have a very strong and unpleasant odor. Liver problems can also lead to bad breath as the liver helps filter toxins from the blood. If these toxins aren’t removed quickly enough, they will start to build up and cause bad breath as well as other side effects.

Mouth infections


Infections in the mouth, such as tonsillitis, gingivitis, or periodontitis can also cause someone to have bad breath. These infections are caused by bacteria build-up in the mouth. If these infections aren’t treated quickly enough they may spread to other parts of the head or neck causing more issues. Some people with post nasal drip due to allergies or a cold will be more likely to breathe through their mouths instead of their noses because their noses are stuffy. This allows odor-producing particles from foods and dead cells on the tongue to float around in the air until someone breathes them back into their lungs.


In all, there are many different causes of bad breath. Some people may only have one cause, while others may have several. The best way to determine the cause of your bad breath is to visit your dentist or doctor for a diagnosis. Once you know the cause, you can then take steps to treat it and get rid of that unpleasant smell.

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