What Causes Bad Breath?

It has been estimated that well over half of the human population (65 percent) suffers from chronic halitosis, or bad breath. Bad breath can negatively affect social relationships, professional relationships, and even close personal relationships. Here are some of the various causes of bad breath and how to treat both temporary and chronic bad breath.

Four Common Causes

The four most common causes of bad breath include poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, consumption of certain foods and substances, and poor oral health.


  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Failing to regularly floss and brush the teeth, tongue, and roof of the mouth can contribute to bacterial buildup, which often causes bad breath. Failing to undergo regular dental checkups also allows bacteria to accumulate inside your mouth.
  • Dry Mouth: Drinking enough water helps to flush out mouth bacteria and maintain good salivary flow. Without sufficient water intake, bacteria cling to your teeth and remain in your mouth.
  • Certain Foods and Substances: Tobacco, sugary foods, onions, garlic, and various acidic foods can all cause bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. Failing to properly clean your teeth after partaking of these foods and substances may not only cause bad breath but can also lead to dental problems, gum disease, and other indicators of mouth decay.
  • Poor Oral Health: 90 percent of the time, chronic bad breath is a result of poor oral health. Due to issues such as food stuck between your teeth, poor dental work, faulty fillings, gum disease, impacted wisdom teeth, or postnasal drip, bacteria in the mouth can produce volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath.

Treating Bad Breath

In order to properly treat bad breath, it is important that you schedule an appointment with Dr. Benjamin Fiss to determine the cause of your bad breath. With an in-depth oral exam, x-ray examination, and an evaluation of your medical history, current medications, oral hygiene habits, and diet, Dr. Fiss can diagnose the cause and prepare a treatment plan to eliminate both temporary and chronic bad breath. In many cases, treatment will include improving oral hygiene behaviors, using chlorine dioxide toothpaste and mouth rinse, increasing water consumption, treating gum disease and mouth decay, and repairing poor dental work. In some cases, patients may need to adjust their diets or current medications to reduce the presence of mouth bacteria. These treatment methods offer a way to eliminate temporary or chronic halitosis now and prevent the future development of bad breath.


Dr. Benjamin Fiss and his staff employ the latest advances in dental technology to detect, treat, and eliminate halitosis and poor oral health. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Fiss today by calling (312) 951-5230 or filling out our online contact form.