Bad breath has the tendency to rear its ugly head at the most inconvenient moments. Whether you’re trying to impress someone on a first date or interviewing for that job promotion you’ve been working towards, bad breath can make important moments embarrassing. Halitosis –– the technical term for bad breath –– is a common condition that can make you self-conscious and even social withdrawal from friends and family. Poor oral hygiene habits are often to blame for bad breath, but halitosis is important to treat because it could indicate underlying dental issues. Today we’ll break down the five common causes of bad breath and tell you everything you need to know about the prevention and treatment for halitosis.

Poor Oral Hygiene Habits

When you leave food particles behind in the mouth, you create a breeding ground for bacteria. Food that collects on the teeth, gums, and tongue may rot and cause an unpleasant odor and taste in the mouth. Failing to practice good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing daily and visiting your general dentist for regular exams can lead to issues with bad breath.

Certain Foods

Believe it or not, the things you eat are closely linked to your oral health. Your bloodstream absorbs the foods you eat, and until that food leaves the body, it has the potential to affect your breath. Onions and garlic tend to stay in your bloodstream longer and cause bad breath. This cause has an easy fix, though –– avoid troublesome foods leading up to important events.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a condition closely associated with bad breath. When there is a major decrease in saliva production, the mouth can’t cleanse itself and remove debris and particles left behind by food. Certain medicines, hormonal issues, salivary gland disorders, or always breathing through the mouth instead of the nose can cause dry mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, consult with your general dentist to determine the cause and find the best treatment option.

Gum Disease

One of the main symptoms of this gum disease is bad-smelling breath, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Common symptoms of gingivitis include red puffy gums, blood in the sink during routine brushing, bad breath and if left untreated, gingivitis can lead to moderate or advanced periodontitis which have symptoms like tooth sensitivity, receding gums, and even tooth loss. Gum disease is a common issue but needs to be treated by your dentist quickly to keep the disease from progressing.


Other medical conditions may be the underlying cause of bad breath. An infected tooth, respiratory infection, diabetes, and even liver or kidney disorders can cause bad breath. Your dentist will help determine if you should see your primary care physician following a dental exam.

If the teeth aren’t properly cleaned by being brushed, flossed, and professionally cleaned by a dental professional every six months, it may lead to a buildup of plaque. Plaque can cause gum disease, dental cavities, and will contribute to the odor associated with halitosis.

Treatment for Halitosis

While halitosis can be unpleasant, the good news is that dental professionals can treat it relatively easily. The treatment for halitosis includes a deep, professional cleaning of the gum tissue and the teeth, which will eliminate the odor. Your dentist can also help you learn proper oral hygiene techniques to prevent chronic bad breath from returning.

Our team at Endodontic Specialists of Indiana is dedicated to giving our patients the healthy, beautiful smiles they deserve. If you’re suffering from an infected or painful tooth, contact us today to learn how we can restore your smile and relieve your pain. With offices located in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, convenient care is just a phone call away.