If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why do I have bad breath?” you should consider a number of potential causes.
Good oral hygiene is the most important factor when it comes to halitosis (the clinical name for bad breath). Be sure to brush your teeth and tongue after eating, floss daily, and drink plenty of water. If you wear dentures, clean them regularly and make sure they fit properly so they don’t trap food particles and odor-causing bacteria, which both can cause unpleasant breath.
You may wonder what causes bad breath even after brushing and flossing. You probably know that eating certain foods such as onions, garlic, and other spices may cause bad breath. Remnants of these foods can remain in your mouth and cause the issue. Or they may release sulfur gasses during digestion.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, also causes bad breath. Although you may not think of saliva as being clean, it helps cleanse your mouth to remove odor-causing food particles and bacteria. You’ve probably noticed your breath is less fresh in the morning. The culprit is usually naturally occurring dry mouth, especially if you sleep with your mouth open. However, some people experience chronic dry mouth due to disease, problems with the salivary glands, or a side effect from medication.
Medications can cause bad breath for other reasons, too. Some break down in the body and release chemicals that other people can detect on your breath.
Certain medical issues can also lead to halitosis, including:
- Infections or surgical wounds in the mouth
- Nose, throat, and mouth conditions
- Chronic reflux of stomach acid
- Some cancers and metabolic disorders