Causes of Bad Breath

The medical name for bad breath is halitosis and usually results from poor dental habits. Keeping your mouth and teeth clean is important to avoid cavities, gum problems and bad breath. Brushing and flossing should be part of your daily routine, and if your gums have become sore, a timely trip to the dentist will minimise damage.

Poor Oral Hygiene

As food is chewed, small pieces lodge between the teeth-some are obvious and may be removed easily; but microscopic food particles remain in the mouth. As these begin to decay they encourage growth of bacteria over the tongue, teeth and gums.

These bacteria cause an unpleasant smell, giving an odour to your breath that you may not notice yourself, but others find distasteful at close quarters.

Brushing your teeth twice a day will help dislodge the food particles, cleaning the mouth. Flossing between teeth is also important to remove food remnants from the nooks and crannies of teeth to eradicate the bacterial breeding ground.

A mouthwash containing an antibacterial agent is an excellent way to finish your dental home care regime to ensure fresh breath.

Dry Mouth & Gum Disease

Occasional bad breath is usually the cause of strong foods like garlic, coffee or onions, but persistent bad breath is often the result of gum disease or an unusually dry mouth (xerostomia) where decomposing cells from food build up in the mouth.

Chewing a sugar-free gum will help stimulate saliva to keep the mouth moist. In the case of possible gum disease, your dentist will examine and evaluate your gums and suggest a care plan to address the issue.

Bad breath may be a possibly be a symptom of a more serious medical issue in the stomach or throat, and your dentist will identify whether this is the case or if the issue is indeed a dental one.


Smoking leads to increased levels of gum disease, risk of a huge array of cancers, and stains your teeth. It also irritates the inside of your mouth and causes inflammation of the palate. All tobacco products cause bad breath, as particles linger in the lungs and lead to stale breath.

Tobacco smoke contains aromatic hydrocarbons, (most of which are carcinogenic) which are pungent; permeating the saliva and leading to ‘Smoker’s Breath’.

Smoking dries out the palate; repeated inhalation of hot gases parches the tongue and gums to leave a dry mouth where bacteria gather. It also causes tartar build-up on the teeth, which increases the risk of periodontal disease.

We Can Help

Our dental practices will assess your particular issues, ensuring any concerns are addressed properly. An oral exam will be able to identify any periodontal disease and stop it from worsening.

A professional cleaning called a scale and polish, along with good home care, makes a large difference to your breath.  Brushing after meals may be recommended, and using a special little interdental toothbrush will help to ensure the whole mouth remains clean if there is an ongoing issue with food lodging between teeth.

Fluoride toothpaste and an antibacterial mouthwash (not just one that masks unpleasant odour) complete your arsenal in the fight against bad breath.

Our staff recommends gently brushing your tongue, as much of the bacteria in the mouth gathers on top of the tongue and can be removed with a tongue scraper or toothbrush.

Drinking plenty of fluids will keep the mouth moist; avoiding coffee where possible. Your dentist will suggest a plan for quick, efficient home care to establish healthy dental habits.