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Some causes of bad breath

Certain Food and Drink

Flavorful food and drink such as onions, garlic, vegetables, and spices are one of the most common causes for bad breath. The leftover food particles from those kinds of food can enter your bloodstream and get carried to the lungs.

Once the food particles are in your lungs, each time you exhale the odor from the food will affect the odor of your breath. Not only will your breath stink, but once the food’s odor is in your bloodstream, the odor will also be released through your body’s pores causing body odor.


Another common cause of bad breath is coffee. Due to its strong, intense flavor and high levels of caffeine, coffee also has a direct effect on saliva production. After a strong cup of joe, the caffeine tends to hinder saliva production and less saliva means an increase in odor-causing bacteria.

It’s undeniable that we all need a cup of coffee or two, or three, to get us through the day, so carry some mouthwash and drink some water after your coffee to help spark some saliva production.

Alcohol and Tobacco

Some obvious causes of bad breath are alcohol and smoking. Like coffee, an excess of alcohol consumption can result in a decrease in saliva production. As everyone may know, any type of tobacco products causes bad breath and can lead to more serious oral health issues. The damaging effects of tobacco products, such as damaged gum tissue, gum disease, and cancer, are irreversible.

Diets and Medication

Uncommon and overlooked causes of bad breath are certain diets and medication. Sugar tends to be the culprit when taking a closer look into what may be causing bad breath.

High sugar diets allow sugar to interact with the existing bacteria in your mouth causing sweet flavors into bitter smells. High-protein or low-carb diets is another diet that contributes to bad breath. Not enough carbs and too much protein can affect your body’s metabolism which can lead to bad breath.

A common side effect of almost all prescription medicine is dry mouth. Dry mouth means less saliva production which means bad breath. Odor-causing bacteria that lives in your mouth thrives in a dry mouth environment.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition where there is a decrease in saliva production in the mouth. Saliva plays an important role in maintaining oral health by flushing away harmful bacteria that can cause bad breath.

Without enough saliva, bacteria tend to accumulate on the gums, teeth, tongue, and other oral surfaces, leading to the production of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that cause bad breath. Apart from VSC production, the lack of saliva also causes food particles to remain stuck in the mouth, increasing the likelihood of bacterial growth. 

Gum Disease

Maintaining oral hygiene involves more than just clean teeth and fresh breath. It’s important to recognize that gum disease can contribute to unpleasant breath. When gums become inflamed and detach from the teeth, pockets form where odor-causing bacteria thrive, leading to infection and bad breath.

To address this issue, regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits are crucial in preventing gum disease and promoting a healthy mouth odor.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can also contribute to bad breath. Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, can lead to bad breath due to bacterial accumulation in the respiratory tract. Gastrointestinal issues like acid reflux and stomach ulcers can also result in an unpleasant odor in the mouth.

Furthermore, certain medications may induce dry mouth, which can contribute to bad breath. If persistent bad breath occurs, it is crucial to seek advice from a healthcare professional as it may be an indication of an underlying medical problem.

Bad Breath Home Remedies

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Antiseptic mouthwash
  • Brush teeth after meals
  • Brush your tongue
  • Replace your toothbrush every two to three months
  • Floss regularly
  • Regular dental check-ups
  • Keep mouth moist by drinking water, sugarless gum, or sugar-free hard candy
  • Avoid bad smelling foods
  • Natural remedies—chew on mint or parsley
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