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4 Things That Could Be Causing Bad Breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, can affect anyone at any time. After all, who wakes up in the morning with great breath? But persistent bad breath can be a sign that something isn’t right with your teeth, gums, or even your digestive system. Not to mention that it can make you feel self-conscious and affect your confidence. If you do have it, you may or may not even realize it unless someone says something. The keys to tackling bad breath are awareness and finding out what is causing it. I recommend talking to your dentist or doctor about anything that concerns you. Here are just a few things to consider.

Poor Dental Hygiene

A good oral health routine is vital to keep things in top condition in your mouth. Brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings will help keep breath fresh and prevent plaque build-up, decay, and cavities. If you’re not doing these things regularly, plaque, food particles, and bacteria can build up in your mouth leaving behind bad smells. Abscesses and infections in your gums can also cause this, as well as leave a horrible taste in your mouth. Of course, any of these more serious problems will need to be addressed by a professional. 

Additionally, if you have braces or aligners, you could be missing some of that bacteria build-up simply by not being able to reach it. It’s important to listen to your dental health practitioner or visit your orthodontist for a full check-up and cleaning. Make sure you’re brushing at least twice per day and flossing after meals or before you go to bed. Mouthwash can also be helpful to rinse away trapped bacteria.

Your Diet

What we eat can affect how our breath smells. Diets rich in spicy foods or onions and garlic can leave you with bad breath, even after you’ve brushed your teeth. Though this is temporary, be aware of how these foods affect your breath and are ready to counteract them with mints or mouthwash. 

It is also true that constantly eating fried foods, sugar, and foods that you are intolerant to can affect how your breath smells. This could be a sign that something is off in your digestive system. If this is the case, the only way to combat it is to change your eating habits. Try to be aware of how specific foods affect how you feel in your gut and how your breath smells.

Breathing Through Your Mouth 

Though there are many reasons why people breathe through their mouths when they are asleep, it doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Doing this regularly can cause dry mouth, tooth problems, and bad breath. This happens when your mouth dries out and you aren’t producing the saliva to wash away the bacteria. These bacteria then begin to grow and emit an odor. 

If this is you, I highly recommend talking to your doctor or dentist to find out why your mouth is falling open at night. This could be a sinus issue, sleep apnea, misaligned teeth, or poor positioning of your head and neck.


Certain illnesses can also cause your breath to smell bad. Common ones include respiratory conditions, digestive issues, and infected sinuses. If you have a sinus infection, infected mucus moving down to your throat can produce an odor which is then exhaled as you breathe. You might also recognize a bad taste in your mouth, or you might not notice it at all. After all, a respiratory illness often leads to a reduction in the ability to smell or taste. 

If you’re experiencing indigestion, gas, or vomiting, the gases produced in your stomach can be exhaled, which don’t smell great. Of course, this can happen temporarily or it can be chronic. I’m more concerned about the chronic case. Your doctor should be able to help you get to the bottom of any frequent symptoms. It might help to keep a food and symptom journal to keep track of any digestive problems because they could be signaling to you that something serious is happening and needs attention.


No one wants to worry about their breath. By getting a clean bill of health and regularly visiting the dentist, you can avoid much of what causes bad breath. If you can’t find a definitive cause for your issue, your dentist may want further tests or for you to see another specialist. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to keep hydrated, avoid certain foods and keep some breath mints in your purse just in case you need them. 

**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Women’s lifelink, its owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors, and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.

About Caroline Stewart

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