Causes of Bad Breath & How to Prevent It

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Resources

It’s common for people to experience bad breath now and then. But persistent bad breath that is a daily problem suggests an underlying issue that may need attention. 

At Beaches Dental Mona Vale, your Northern Beaches dentist, we understand that bad breath can negatively impact your life. So, we’re here to help you. In this article, we discuss the common causes of bad breath and how to prevent it. 

Common Causes of Bad Breath 

Do you suffer from bad breath? If so, you’ll be happy to know that there are ways to reduce or even eliminate it. The first step is identifying the cause.

There are several causes of bad breath that range from simple dental hygiene issues to serious medical conditions. In most cases, bad breath is caused by an issue in your mouth. However, the cause can be due to an underlying medical condition.

Some causes of bad breath pass quickly, whilst others are ongoing. Below are some of the causes of bad breath:

Poor Oral Health 

The most common cause of bad breath is the lack of a sufficient oral hygiene routine. Poor oral hygiene results in the bacteria that causes bad breath building up in between your teeth and around your gum line. The crevices on the surface of your tongue can also accumulate bacteria, further promoting bad breath. 

Tobacco Use 

Smoking and the general use of tobacco products can cause bad breath, amongst many other issues. If you smoke or use tobacco products, you are at higher risk of gum disease which is also a common contributor to bad breath.

Drinking Alcohol 

Consuming alcohol can cause a decrease in your rate of saliva production. This is especially true if you consume alcohol in excess. A dry mouth provides the ideal environment for the bacteria that cause bad breath to flourish in. Excessive consumption of alcohol can also lead to other health problems which result in bad breath as a side effect. 

Eating Certain Foods 

Some foods (especially some vegetables like onions and garlic as well as some spices) have smelly compounds that can linger in your mouth. They can also be absorbed into your bloodstream and then released through your breath when you exhale.


A cause of bad breath that you may overlook is dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, your salivary glands produce less saliva.

Your saliva helps keep your mouth healthy by maintaining your PH levels in your mouth which has an antibacterial action. It also keeps your mouth moist which helps wash bacteria off your teeth. Your mouth naturally reduces its rate of saliva production when you sleep which is why you may experience ‘morning breath’.

Gum Disease 

Gum disease is an infection of your gums that is usually caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar. In its advanced stages, gum disease can result in bleeding gums. This combined with the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth can lead to bad breath.

7 Tips for Preventing Bad Breath 

Most people will experience bad breath at some stage in their life. The good news is, there are several steps you can take to remedy and prevent this condition. If you experience persistent bad breath, it’s important to visit your dentist. This allows them to rule out any major dental issues and provide you with any treatment you need. 

Here are some tips for preventing bad breath: 

Brush Twice Daily 

Part of a great dental health routine and a good way to prevent bad breath is brushing your teeth twice a day. You should do this with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, using gentle circular motions. 

It’s important to replace your toothbrush roughly every 12 weeks. You may find that using an electric toothbrush can help you achieve a more effective clean. 


Tooth brushing alone is not enough to give your mouth a thorough clean. The hard to reach places in between your teeth and just under your gum line need flossing to remove food debris and other bacteria that have become lodged. We recommend that you floss at least once a day. 

The effectiveness of your flossing comes down to your technique. So, be sure to ask your dentist at your next check-up to show you how it’s done best.

Use An Antibacterial Mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth out with an alcohol-free mouthwash, particularly after eating, may help you reduce the bacteria present in your mouth. There is a wide range of mouthwashes available. Your dentist can point you in the direction of a suitable one for you to incorporate into your at-home oral hygiene routine to help you prevent bad breath.

Watch What You Eat 

A healthy diet can help you maintain good oral health, which reduces your risk of suffering from bad breath. You can also avoid foods that are linked to temporary bad breath, such as garlic and onions. Limiting your alcohol intake and consumption of coffee and products high in sugar are other preventative measures you can take. 

Stop Smoking

Smoking leads to bad breath in more than one way. Quitting smoking is a great way to reduce and even eliminate bad breath. Smoking and using tobacco products leave a bad odour in your mouth, but that’s not where it ends. Smoking also reduces your saliva production and can lead to gum disease, both of which may contribute to bad breath. 

Stay Hydrated 

Drinking plenty of water is key to good oral health and fresh breath. It keeps your mouth clean and moist and aids in the saliva production your mouth needs for its antibacterial purposes.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly 

Maintaining regular dental check-ups and professional cleans allows your dentist to help you maintain good oral health as well as prevent and treat any dental issues that cause bad breath. If you’re suffering from bad breath, they can help you address the cause and prescribe a suitable treatment plan. 

Looking for a Northern Beaches Dentist? 

If you’re looking for a Northern Beaches dentist that you can trust with the whole family’s oral health, look no further than Beaches Dental Mona Vale. Our gentle dentists aim to help you and your family achieve the best oral health possible and maintain it for the long run. 

Visiting our practice is easy. Our welcoming dental rooms have convenient opening hours and we offer onsite parking, with lift access. Contact us to make an appointment today!