Bad breath, also known as fetor oris or halitosis, is a big source of anxiety and embarrassment. It has spawned an entire industry of mints and mouthwashes. Unfortunately, most of the products that purport to fight bad breath only provide temporary solutions. It’s important to address the source of the problem to eliminate it.

Why My Breath Stink

(Freeimages / vildan uysal)


Bad breath affects 1 in 4 people. Here are a few of the things that commonly cause bad breath:

  • Poor dental care — Good dental hygiene, such as daily brushing and flossing, removes the build-up of food particles in the mouth. When a person neglects their oral care, food particles will remain in between the teeth and cause bad breath when they break down. Failure to brush regularly will lead to the build-up of plaque in the teeth. The plaque can irritate the gums, causing inflammation between the teeth and gums and, ultimately, periodontitis. People who wear dentures but fail to properly clean them can harbor bacteria that cause bad breath.
  • Diet — Eating pungent foods, such as onion and garlic, can result in bad breath. Food particles that get stuck in the teeth can also cause bad odors.
  • Tobacco — The use of tobacco products can cause your breath to stink. More significantly, tobacco use may increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Dry mouth — Saliva cleans the mouth. If the mouth is dry due to the low production of saliva, odors will build up in the mouth.
  • Crash diets — When a person fasts or reduces his or her carbohydrate intake, they may develop bad breath. A low carbohydrate diet will cause the breakdown of fats and produce ketones that have a strong aroma.
  • Disease — Some diseases, particularly metabolic diseases, can produce bad breath due to the mixture of chemicals that are produced in the body. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the accompanying reflux of stomach acids contribute to rank breath.
  • Drugs — Certain drugs reduce the production of saliva and cause stinky breath. There are other drugs that release chemicals and emit odors when they break down. Taking vitamin supplements in large doses can trigger bad breath.


Your biggest defense against foul-smelling breath is good oral hygiene. To eliminate bacteria on your teeth, your dentist may recommend a mouthwash or toothpaste that kills the bacteria. If your bad breath is caused by gum disease, your dentist will refer you to a periodontist who can help address the problem.


Having a bad breath will make you feel anxious all the time. You check your breath from time to time; try a mouthwash. However, the cause might just be your lifestyle. Check on this infographic the major causes of bad breath. If you are having oral hygiene, then, it’s time to visit your dentist.

Causes of Bad Breath [infographic]