What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Posted by PACIFIC HIGHWAY DENTAL on Sep 10 2022, 11:06 AM

Well, bad breath typically comes from bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria release a sulfur compound that causes bad breath when it’s broken down by your saliva. Bad breath is a common problem, and many people experience it at some point in their lives. Interestingly, 15% of the world’s population suffers from chronic bad breath.

There are several reasons why people experience dry mouth. The most common causes are:

Poor Oral Hygiene

Failing to brush and floss your teeth can leave you with bad breath. Plaque and bacteria buildup on your teeth can irritate your gums, leading to swelling and bleeding. 


GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition in which acid from the stomach refluxes into the esophagus. This can create a number of problems for your oral health.

Saliva helps to neutralize the effects of the acid in the esophagus. However, when the acid from the stomach refluxes into the esophagus, the saliva is not available to neutralize it. Instead, the acid can erode the enamel on your teeth. The acid can also irritate the soft tissue in the esophagus, causing pain and difficulty swallowing.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums. This infection causes the gums to become red and swollen. Pockets can form between the teeth and the gums as bacteria invade the area. The bacteria in the gums can eventually make their way into the bone, weakening the bone structure. This can cause the teeth to become loose.

Bad breath can also be a sign of periodontal disease.


Smoking is a habit that is very harmful to your dental health. In addition to causing yellowing of the teeth, smoking can irritate your gums and cause bad breath. Cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 different chemicals. Many of them can cause bad breath, including acetaldehyde. This chemical causes bad breath, body odor, and mouth dryness and can react with proteins to make “smog breath.”

In addition to acetaldehyde, smoking also puts teeth at risk for decay. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes can stain your teeth and cause tartar buildup.

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Xerostomia is a condition in which a person’s salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. This leads to a mouth that feels dry, with an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Dry mouth often occurs in older adults and is commonly a result of prescription medications.

Systemic Conditions

Bad breath can occur due to several systemic (whole-body) conditions, not just an oral condition. Some of the most common are diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, chronic acid reflux, respiratory infections, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Wish to learn more about bad breath and treatment options? You can visit Dentist in Kent, WA, Pacific Highway Dental at 27020 Pacific Highway South, Suite C, Kent, WA 98032. Or you can contact our office to book an appointment at 253-529-9434.

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