When Breath Goes Bad: The Causes of Halitosis

Bad breath doesn’t always mean that you need to seek immediate dental treatment, even if it doesn’t easily go away when you brush and floss your teeth. While it’s true that dental infections, like tooth decay and gum disease, can foul your breath as they progress, halitosis (chronic bad breath) could just mean that your hygiene needs some improvement—before an issue does develop. To help you understand the source of your potential embarrassment, we explain a few common causes of halitosis, and how they make your breath smell bad.

Common Causes of Bad Breath


Unclean teeth and gums can cause bad breath in a number of ways. By neglecting to clean them, you can allow food particles to remain in your teeth, which can rot over time and threaten your oral health, as well as your breath. Also, some oral bacteria (particularly the ones that linger on your tongue) tend to release unpleasant sulfur gases that can overwhelm your mouth.


Even if it doesn’t hang around for long, your food can contribute to persistent bad breath in numerous other ways. If you eat pungent foods, like garlic, the smell may not leave your mouth along with the food. If you don’t receive the right kinds and amounts of necessary nutrients, your body’s physiological responses can result in a foul smell being passed through your bloodstream and expelled from your lungs.


Besides oral health issues, some systemic illnesses can also contribute to bad breath, such as respiratory illnesses, diabetes, or gastrointestinal (GI) complications. If your bad breath continues after improving your hygiene, and your teeth and gums are healthy, then you may have an underlying health condition, and could be referred to your physician for treatment.


Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.