Causes of Bad Breath

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath is something that no one wants to admit they have a problem with, yet the American Dental Association notes that 50% of Americans have had bad breath at least once in their lives. The fact of the matter is that bad breath can happen to anyone and it’s better to be prepared if it ever happens to you. 

Many cases of bad breath can be prevented or managed by simply identifying their cause and then taking the necessary steps. Bad breath can stem from your teeth, gums, or tongue and can be caused by a range of different things, including: 

Dry Mouth

Bad breath can be caused by dry mouth because people with this condition do not produce enough saliva for the mouth to naturally clean itself. This unfortunately makes it easier for bacteria to accumulate, which can cause the odor associated with bad breath. When dry mouth is the cause for bad breath, you may be able to treat it by stimulating saliva production. Things like chewing gum, sucking on sugarless candies, and drinking water frequently are all ways to increase salivary flow. 

Poor Oral Hygiene

man smiling and showing teeth that have not had proper hygiene

Not only is brushing twice a day and flossing daily important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but it is also important to keep your breath smelling fresh. This is because brushing and flossing both eliminate excess bacteria from the surface of your teeth and along the gum line. When you fail to brush or floss as recommended or if you are not using the right technique, then you may have excess bacteria in your mouth. Generally speaking, the more bacteria you have, the stronger the odor of your breath. 


The scent of your breath is also affected by the things you eat and drink. Certain foods and beverages have stronger scents and tastes than others, and these are usually the culprits behind bad breath caused by diet. Some common examples include coffee, onions, and garlic. If you find yourself with a temporary case of bad breath due to diet, you can try a mint or brushing your teeth after meals to eliminate ghastly odors. 

Certain Medical Conditions

Both temporary and chronic cases of bad breath can also be caused by certain medical conditions. Temporary bad breath can occur when there is an infection in the tonsils, nasal passages, bronchial tubes, and upper/lower respiratory system. Chronic bad breath can also occur in coordination with chronic health conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disorder, diabetes, and kidney disease. In these cases, the best thing to do is seek medical treatment for the condition itself and then speak with your dentist about how to manage your bad breath. 


woman smoking with stained teeth

Smoking is another possible cause of bad breath since cigarette smoke has a strong scent that lingers on the tongue. Not only that, but smoking also causes dry mouth, which makes the scent stronger. Since smoking can cause a variety of oral and overall health problems, it is recommended that you quit smoking to improve your oral and overall health. 

Dr. Chris Vinson and Dr. Kristie Vinson

Dr. Chris Vinson and  Dr. Kristie Vinson attended the College of Dentistry at The University of Oklahoma. Dr. Chris Vinson has earned a fellowship from the Misch International Implant Institute and a fellowship in International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is also certified to administer Oral and IV sedation to his patients through The Montefiore College of Medicine in New York and is Teeth-Express and Invisalign certified.  Dr. Kristie Vinson is trained in sedation dentistry, Botox, and dermal fillers. She received a Fellowship from the Misch International Implant Institute and the Fellowship in International Congress of Oral Implantology. She is also Teeth-Express and Invisalign Certified.  

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Dr. Chris Vinson and Dr. Kristie Vinson Tulsa Precision Dental creates beautiful smiles through modern dentistry, working through the latest restorative and cosmetic techniques to meet our patients' needs and their families in Tulsa, OK. Our practice, operated by Drs. Chris and Kristie Vinson, believes in using preventative care values to achieve the most out of people's dental care.
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