man covering his mouth due to bad breath (Halitosis)Imagine: You’re walking into a restaurant to meet a group of friends and suddenly…you get a wif of your breath. Oh no. You forgot to brush your teeth, you think. But wait, that’s not it. You recall brushing your teeth before walking out the door. So why is your breath still bad?

Having bad breath can be embarrassing and unpleasant. It may not be just a simple matter of brushing your teeth one time. Look at the causes and discover how working together with Signature Dentistry of Rochester can get rid of your bad breath.

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath can have causes that don’t need medical intervention. But it’s crucial to nail down the root of the problem in case you need your dentist’s help. 

Food and Drink (mention new diet)

Food and drink are major contributors to bad breath. Onions, garlic, dairy, canned tuna, and horseradish are the top five culprits of food-related bad breath. If you eat a lot of these, you might consider cutting back to reduce the impact on your breath. These foods affect your breath twice. Once, when you eat it and again after it enters your bloodstream and comes out through your lungs.

Have you just started a new diet? Look into the foods that the diet is restricting and allowing. The Keto diet, very low carb and high fats, is notorious for producing foul breath.  

Coffee and alcohol cause bad breath because they create a favorable environment for bacteria to grow. These drinks also make your mouth dry. The decrease in saliva production causes bacteria to linger and start to smell. 

Tobacco Products

Tobacco products put you at a higher risk for bad breath for a few reasons. First, they dry out your mouth, and without saliva, you can’t wash away bacteria. Second, the stale smoke smell tends to linger in your lungs and come out later. Finally, tobacco users are twice as likely to develop gum disease. Not only is this another cause of bad breath, but gum disease affects your teeth and bones, too. 


Some medications make your mouth dry, leading to bad breath. Other medications release chemicals inside your body that come out through your breath later. Look into or talk to your doctor about the medicines you’re taking to see if they have a side effect of bad breath. If they do, ask if there is another medication you can try that wouldn’t cause the foul smell. 

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is a significant contributor to bad breath because it leads to gum disease and tooth decay. But also, without brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, bacteria will linger in your mouth and start to stink. Your mouth is wet and warm, which is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, and it smells at all stages from the beginning to its transformation to plaque and tartar. 

Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Gum disease and tooth decay cause bad breath that will need medical intervention. When your practice poor oral hygiene long enough, your gums will become infected with the multiplying bacteria, and eventually, your teeth will decay and fall out. Besides having an unpleasant odor, your teeth and gums will hurt, your smile will suffer, and you’ll have a harder time talking and eating. 

Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom

In all cases, bad breath is the symptom of another problem, not the cause. So using breath mints won’t help. You’ll need to discover what is causing your bad breath and stop it at the source. Do any of the causes seem a likely culprit in the list above?

Pay attention to your gums and teeth. If your teeth are sensitive or your gums bleed, gum disease may be the cause of your bad breath. Treating it will eliminate your symptoms.

Gum Disease Treatment

The severity of your gum disease dictates the type of treatment you’ll need. If it’s a mild case, improving your oral hygiene routine will clear it up. Other times, you may need more regular cleanings. Scaling and root planning to eliminate the bacteria and reattach your gums may be necessary if it’s severe. 

Some cases of gum disease are so advanced that we have to repair or replace teeth. If this is you, don’t worry. Dr. Matthew Wolfe practices restorative dentistry. You can have a new smile again with beautiful white teeth. Depending on the case, he may recommend crowns, dental implants, dentures, porcelain veneers, a dental bridge, or all-on-4 dental implants.

The only way to know for sure is to schedule a consultation and exam in Rochester Hills. 

Treat Your Bad Breath in Rochester Hills

Take control of your health and bad breath today. Call (248) 651-0897 or make an appointment online. Dr. Wolfe and his team can eliminate your bad breath and keep your smile healthy for years to come.