4 Causes Of Bad Breath

Dentist Blog

Bad breath can make you feel embarrassed and self-conscious in social situations, and simply eating mints isn't usually enough to combat the odour. There can be several reasons for smelly breath, and getting to the root of the problem can improve your health and your confidence. Here's an overview of four possible causes of bad breath.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by large amounts of bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria combine with food debris and form plaque, which sticks to your teeth around the gum line. Plaque erodes your tooth enamel, and as your body's white blood cells try to destroy the plaque, bacteria respond by releasing enzymes that damage the soft tissue of your gums. This process typically leads to infection of the tooth pulp and a build-up of bacteria in pockets of damaged gum tissue, which causes a foul odour.

Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections, such as bronchitis, can cause bad breath as a result of bacteria in your lungs. This tends to be worse when you cough, but it can be present at all times. Lower respiratory infections, such as sinusitis, can cause bad breath due to postnasal drip. This allows bacteria to travel from your nasal passages to the back of your throat. Additionally, medication for respiratory infections can leave you with a dry mouth, which creates an acidic environment. Saliva is an alkaline and keeps bacteria levels in check, but without enough saliva, bacteria thrive and you can develop bacterial overgrowth in your mouth.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Any type of gastrointestinal disorder can cause bad breath due to odour travelling up through your esophagus. For example, those with inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease, can experience bowel obstruction or slow intestinal motility. This causes food to stay in the digestive tract longer than it should, which creates foul-smelling gasses. Acid reflux can cause stomach secretions to travel to the back of your throat, and acid can damage the enamel on your back teeth. When this happens, decay can leave you with bad breath even if you're not experiencing a toothache.


When you're not producing enough insulin to metabolise glucose efficiently, your body uses fatty acids to make up the shortfall. When used this way, fatty acids can cause a foul odour in your mouth that's often likened to the smell of faeces. Sufferers are generally aware of the odour but don't always realise it's related to their blood sugar levels.

A dentist at a clinic like TLC Dental can assess your oral health and help you determine what's causing your breath to smell. They can also help you tackle it even if it's caused by an issue not directly related to your oral health. For example, bacterial overgrowth caused by respiratory infections can be tackled with xylitol, which kills bacteria and creates a hostile environment bacteria cannot thrive in. Your dentist can formulate a xylitol treatment plan for you and remove existing plaque to prevent further damage to your tooth enamel. If you're experiencing bad breath, don't ignore it or simply try to mask the smell as it's often a sign of an underlying health issue.


26 October 2016

Travel With An Australian Dentist:  The Best In The World

Miranda Raff here. My brother is a stressed-out dental student, so I'm starting this blog on his behalf. I work in a travel agency and my brother is mortified by the number of dental tourism stories I bring home. I book short holidays for people who seem as though they are going to enjoy some relaxation in an exotic country, only to learn that they plan to have cheap dental procedures. Whilst there are good dentists in developing countries, according to my brother, the complex procedures these people plan to have simply can't be finished in such a limited time. This blog is an attempt to inform you about the high skill levels and advanced technology found in Australian dental surgeries. New techniques are being developed every year and Australian dentists are at the forefront of offering these solutions. I really hope this blog helps you to appreciate our dentists.