What causes bad breath?

Many factors need to be taken into account when it comes to bad breath. In some cases, bad breath is caused by a number of medical disorders, such as infections in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic bronchitis, gastrointestinal disturbance and liver or kidney infections. However, there are other causes of bad breath, such as:

Failing to brush and floss every day

After you eat, the food particles in your mouth collect and forms bacteria which causes bad breath. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, this food can rot, leaving an unpleasant odour, as well as other oral problems.

Garlic and onions

When you consume garlic and onions, it absorbs into your bloodstream and gets expelled through the lungs, leaving you with bad breath. Brushing and flossing will only mask the odour temporarily, but the odour will continue to increase until the garlic or onions are eliminated from your body.

Skipping meals

When you skip a meal, your stomach starts to produce acid which passes back up into your mouth, leaving you with unpleasant breath.

Dry mouth

Saliva cleans the mouth and removes particles that might cause odour. Having a chronic dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) means that the saliva in your mouth decreases. This can be due to various medications, salivary gland problems or constant mouth breathing.


Tobacco products are one of the leading causes of bad breath. If you are a smoker, speak to your dentist about assisting you in helping to quit.

Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath, therefore it is recommended that you visit a dentist once every six months and brush your teeth twice a day. If you are concerned about bad breath, talk to a dentist who can help you identify the cause of bad breath and develop and effective treatment plan. Contact us for a dentist in Cape Town.


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