Is it Just Bad Breath or Something More Serious?

Is it just bad breath or something more serious

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a major inconvenience. It can make you feel self-conscious and embarrassed in social situations. But what many people don’t realize is that bad breath can be a sign of something more serious. In this blog post, we will discuss the various causes of bad breath and how to get rid of it for good!

What is halitosis?

Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath that lasts for an extended amount of time. It can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are more serious than others.

The main causes of bad breath are:



Bacteria are the most common cause of bad breath. When food is left on the teeth, bacteria consume this food and produce sulfur compounds that smell bad. The more bacteria in your mouth, the worse the odor tends to be.


Certain foods and drinks can also cause bad breath. These include garlic, onions, spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, and dairy products. For starters, these odors linger in the mouth and on the tongue. However, they can also affect the air you exhale once they are digested into the bloodstream.

Poor Oral Hygiene:

If you don’t brush and floss regularly, food particles can become trapped in your mouth and cause bad breath. plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth, can also lead to bad breath. The more plaque that accumulates, the worse the odor.


Eating too much sugar feeds bacteria and can cause cavities. When cavities form, they provide a place for bacteria to grow and produce bad breath. Severe tooth decay can also cause bad breath.


When you smoke, various chemicals adhere to the surface of your teeth and cause your breath to smell bad. Smoking not only causes bad breath, but it can also lead to gum disease and other oral health problems. Some of these problems can make bad breath worse.

Digestive Problems:

If you have a digestive disorder such as GERD or acid reflux, stomach acid can rise up into your throat and cause bad breath. Over time, excess acid can cause enamel erosion and many other problems.

Dry Mouth:

Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, medical conditions, or simply not drinking enough water. When your mouth is dry, there is less saliva to wash away food and bacteria. Since saliva is essential for keeping your mouth clean, a lack of saliva can cause bad breath.

Gum Disease:

Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can cause bad breath. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. If not treated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

There are many ways to get rid of bad breath, such as:

Practice Good Oral Hygiene:

The best way to prevent bad breath is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using mouthwash. You should also brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria.

toothpaste on toothbrush

Stay Hydrated:

Drinking plenty of water helps keep your mouth moist and washes away food and bacteria. It’s important to drink eight glasses of water a day.

Avoid Foods that Cause Bad Breath:

As we mentioned earlier, certain foods and drinks can cause bad breath. To avoid bad breath, limit your intake of garlic, onions, spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, and dairy products. 

Quit Smoking:

If you smoke, quitting is the best way to get rid of bad breath. Not only will your breath smell better, but you’ll also reduce your risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.

See Your Dentist Regularly:

Regular dental checkups are essential for keeping your mouth healthy. During these appointments, your dentist can identify and treat any oral health problems that may be causing chronic bad breath.

See Your Doctor:

If you believe that your bad breath is due to GERD or other medical issues, then  you should see your doctor. These disorders can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes.

In Conclusion

In this blog, we have discussed the various causes of bad breath and how to get rid of it. If you have bad breath that doesn’t go away with good oral hygiene, it could be a sign of a more serious condition. If this is the case, you should see your dentist or doctor to find out the cause. Thanks for reading!

We hope you found this blog helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We are always happy to help!

Circular Thumbnail Photo of FEmale doctor

Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.