Why Do I Have Bad Breath?

Woman checking her breath

Reasons You May Have Bad Breath

Everyone has bad breath from time to time, especially after sleeping. Doctors call it halitosis, and although it sounds serious, it’s not. Most cases of bad breath are caused by bacteria in your mouth, or by the leftover effects of sulfur that is present in certain foods, such as broccoli and garlic.

Most people can cure morning breath by brushing their teeth. If you find that your morning breath tends to linger even after brushing, you may find yourself asking why do I have bad breath?

Dental Health Reasons For Bad Breath

Most of the time, the odor-causing bacteria inside your mouth are kept in check, to some extent, by your own saliva. That’s because your saliva is slightly acidic. But when you sleep, the normal flow of saliva slows down, and the environment inside your mouth becomes less acidic. This environment is a wonderful place for odor-causing bacteria to multiply and grow. The result — bad breath.

Dry Mouth or Dehydration

Water will help keep your mouth clean and odor-free. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, swish water around in your mouth to wash away food particles. Other beverages, especially coffee and alcohol, tend to linger unpleasantly on your breath. After your body absorbs beer, whiskey, or wine, your lungs spend hours trying to get rid of it.

Coated Tongue

Your tongue can contribute to bad breath by gathering food particles and bacteria. If your tongue becomes coated or furry, gently brush it when you brush your teeth. But don’t get carried away — some people have brushed off taste buds and injured their tongues by brushing them too hard and too often.

Overusing Mouthwash

Don’t regularly use an antiseptic mouthwash unless your dentist recommends it to help control gum disease. Using a mouthwash every day can actually make your bad breath worse by upsetting your mouth’s delicate balance and drying out your mouth. Mouthwash will only temporarily cover up bad breath.

Periodontitis or Tooth Abscess

These serious dental problems can cause an unpleasant taste in your mouth and intense pain when chewing on the affected side. See your dentist as soon as possible to avoid tooth loss or an infection in your bloodstream.


This type of breathing usually makes morning breath worse because it dries out your mouth even more than usual. At night, your mouth moves very little and doesn’t make much saliva, so food particles and bacteria tend to stay put. These particles break down while you sleep and cause morning breath. This is why it’s so important to brush your teeth thoroughly at bedtime.

Other Health Issues that May Be Causing Bad Breath

Although most cases of bad breath relate directly to dental health issues, in some cases they can be indicators of issues affecting other areas of your health. Some common health issues that can result in foul-smelling breath include:

  • Sinus infection
  • Lung infection
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome

Please keep in mind that having consistently bad breath doesn’t always mean that you’re experiencing the aforementioned health issues. If you’re experiencing extremely bad breath that is persistent against good dental hygiene practices, be sure to speak with your dentist about what may be causing your issue. They can help you develop a treatment plan or suggest seeing a specialist to get to the root of your issue.

Pediatric Dentistry in Spring Hill

Dentistry By Design offers full, comprehensive pediatric dentistry services in Spring Hill. As a practice, it is our mission to create a warm, friendly, and welcoming environment for our youngest patients. We help children develop healthy smiles for life!

Contact our Spring Hill pediatric dentist today at (931) 771-8500.

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