Tempe Dentist, AZ 85283, Family, Cosmetic

Why Does my Breath Smell Bad?

01 Feb, 2023 dental-care

Man holding a hand over his mouth as if to hide his bad breath.

If you've ever encountered someone with bad breath, also known as halitosis, then you will automatically start to wonder about your own breath. 

Sometimes you may be shocked to discover that your breath is unpleasant, and you're not sure why. 

If you're most people, you brush and floss regularly and use mouthwash daily. So how is it that we still find ourselves with less-than-pleasant breath from time to time? 

Let's take a look at the most common causes of bad breath and what we can do to eliminate them. 

Causes of Bad Breath

Diet/Foods We Eat 

We all know that foods like garlic and onions are our breath’s arch enemies, but did you know that foods like peanut butter, coffee, and even citrus fruits can cause bad breath too? 

Peanut butter breaks down into protein in the mouth, and bacteria gathers and feeds off protein, leading to bad breath. Due to the sticky consistency of peanut butter, it can remain in the mouth for several hours even after thorough brushing and flossing. 

Diets low in carbohydrates can also result in bad breath. The goal of these diets is to increase ketones for weight loss, which are notorious for causing terrible halitosis. 


There are a number of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that can cause you to have very unpleasant breath. 

The main reason for this is that some medications inhibit the natural production of saliva. Saliva limits the amount of bacteria in the mouth, which is responsible for causing bad breath. It can also occur when taking certain dietary supplements that contain Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. 

When there's an inadequate amount of saliva present, dry mouth occurs and halitosis rears its ugly head. 

Strep Throat 

Strep throat causes bad breath because the contagion that brings on the strep creates pus on the tonsils. The pus is made up of decaying white blood cells, and the odor it emits causes bad breath. 

Unfortunately, this is a cause of halitosis that can't be kept at bay by brushing the teeth, using mouthwash, or eating breath mints. Because it's a medical condition and your tonsils are located in the back of your throat, the bad breath issue will only go away when the strep does. See your doctor as soon as possible when you start experiencing symptoms. 

High Blood Sugar 

High blood sugar causes the level of glucose present in saliva to increase. The bacteria in the mouth recognizes the glucose as a food source. This leads to the formation and buildup of dental plaque. 

If you aren't scrupulous about regular dental care, then the plaque buildup will result in cavities and gum disease. Both of these are leading causes of halitosis. 



When teeth are exposed to acids and bacteria that come from food and drink, then the protective enamel begins to decay, leading to the formation of cavities. When bacteria comes into contact with cavities, further damage is done and bad breath results. 

Neglecting good oral hygiene by failing to brush and floss regularly while eating a lot of sugary foods will quickly result in cavities. 

Brush, floss, and use a tongue scraper daily to thoroughly remove food and bacteria from your mouth, and see your Tempe dentist for a professional cleaning at least twice a year. 

Gum Disease 

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is one of the main causes of chronic halitosis. 

As plaque builds up along the gum line, the gums become irritated, swollen, and infected. The infection causes the gums to recede from the teeth and to bleed. 

Periodontal pockets form between teeth and gums. These areas become filled with tartar and plaque, resulting in even more infection in the mouth. The bacteria and infection cause breath to become foul. 

Periodontal disease can be extremely serious and must be treated by a dental professional to eliminate the gum disease itself as well as the resulting bad breath. 


Bad breath is never a pleasant thing to deal with, and some of the issues that cause it can be harmful to your health, requiring the attention of a medical and/or dental professional. 

It isn't simply a matter of using mouthwash or breath mints to get rid of halitosis. Regular dental visits are a must for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. 

Your dentist will spot any issues before they can become major problems, but only if you attend appointments. 

By practicing good oral hygiene daily and having regular dental checkups, you can always be confident that you have healthy teeth and gums and that you don't have to worry about embarrassing bad breath.