Dr. Ben Lambeth, DDS & Dr. Megumi Lambeth, DDS

310 East Main St., Suite 335 | Carrboro, NC 27510

What Causes Bad Breath?

You’ve probably experienced bad breath multiple times in your life. In fact, most American adults have had bad breath in their life. But what causes bad breath? Here, we’ll explain the possible reasons for your bad breath and how you can combat them to make sure your breath is always fresh.

woman with a long braid covering her mouth with bad breath

Poor Oral Health Habits

The biggest reason that your mouth is not fresh is poor oral health habits. When you don’t brush and floss your teeth, bacteria builds up in your mouth, causing bad odors. These bacteria may naturally occur in your mouth, but that doesn’t mean they need to be there to make your breath smell bad. Practicing good dental hygiene habits include brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using fluoride toothpaste.


You know that things like garlic and coffee can make your breath smell, but it’s not only these foods that could be causing your bad breath. When you eat a diet that is high in carbohydrates and sugars, these foods stay in your mouth long after you’ve finished your snack. If you don’t take care to rinse these food particles away, bacteria start to feed on them and they start to smell. Brush or rinse them away with water to make sure you keep your breath fresh, or better yet eat a healthy diet high in fibrous fruits and vegetables.

Dental Health Issues

If you don’t practice good oral health habits and have dental health issues as a result, this could also lead to bad breath. For example, periodontitis, or gum disease, occurs when plaque builds up on your teeth and gums. When this plaque is not removed, the bacteria causes toxins to form that start to smell. Similarly, cavities mean tooth decay, which usually cause breath to smell. You also may be suffering from dry mouth, which occurs when you don’t produce enough saliva to naturally wash out your mouth. When you have dry mouth, your teeth and mouth aren’t being regularly cleaned and therefore bacteria grows which can start to make your breath smell. If you have any type of dental health issues, seek treatment right away and practice good oral health care to get the problem under control so you can banish bad breath.


This one is pretty obvious. Smoking or other forms of tobacco intake stain your teeth, irritate your gums, and causes gum disease which means bad breath-causing bacteria. The smoke itself also sits in your mouth and makes your breath stink. To banish bad breath, you have to quit smoking. There are a number of different resources to help you quit including patches and cessation classes.

If you are experiencing bad breath, contact us to schedule an appointment so we can figure out what’s causing the problem and how to fix it.

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Milltown Family Dentistry