Why do I have bad breath?

Why do I have bad breath?

Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be embarrassing and, in some cases, even cause anxiety. No wonder store shelves are full of chewing gum, mouthwash, and other products designed to combat bad breath. However, many of these products are only temporary measures as they do not address the cause of the problem.

How does bad breath occur?

Bad breath is caused by certain foods, health conditions, and habits. In many cases, you can correct bad breath with consistent good dental hygiene. If simple self-care techniques do not solve the problem, consult your dentist or doctor to make sure that more serious illness does not cause bad breath.

Common causes of bad breath

·         Food

The decomposition of food particles in and around your teeth increases the number of bacteria in your mouth and can cause an unpleasant odor. Eating certain foods such as onions, garlic, and spices also can cause bad breath. This is because, after digesting these foods, they enter your bloodstream, pass into the lungs, and thus affect the breath.

·         Tobacco products

Smoking causes unpleasant breath. Smokers and users of oral tobacco products are also more likely to have gum disease, which is another source of bad breath.

·         Poor oral hygiene

If you do not brush or floss daily, food particles will remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. Your teeth will develop a colorless and sticky layer of bacteria. This, in turn, irritates the gums.

If you do not use floss or special bristles to clean the gaps, the food particles left in the gaps will also cause bad breath.

·         Medications

Some medications can indirectly cause bad breath, contributing to dry mouth. However, dry mouth is one of the causes of bad breath. The reason is that saliva helps cleanse the mouth by removing particles that cause bad odors.

·         Infections

Bad breath may be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth extraction. Also, due to tooth decay, gum disease, or mouth ulcers.

·         Reflux

If you have heartburn or reflux after eating certain foods, such as dairy products and spicy foods, bad breath may be related to the amount of acid produced in the digestive tract. These acids can have a sour smell, and as a result, these gaseous odors can also affect your breath.

·         Kidney disease

Bad breath that smells like fish or has a strong ammonia-like odor can sometimes be a sign of chronic kidney disease.


Bad breath odors vary depending on the source or root cause. Some people worry about their breath too much, even though they don’t really have that problem. The other one has bad breath and doesn’t sense it at all.

Since it is difficult for you to assess whether you have problems with your breath, it is best to ask someone close to you for an evaluation.