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Having bad breath is more than an embarrassing annoyance, the condition can be a sign of poor health. Read on to learn some of the reasons you could have bad breath and make an appointment with your dentist to help identify your oral issue.

Dry Mouth

Having dry mouth causes bad breath because your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva to rid your teeth, gums, and tongue of odor-causing bacteria. Dry mouth is often caused by medications, especially allergy medications, or some medical conditions. Symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • Swollen, overly red tongue
  • Dry throat
  • Sticky¬†feeling when you swallow
  • Cracked, sore lips

Speak to your dentist about your dry mouth condition, especially if you are undergoing chemotherapy, have HIV/Aids, or have another medical condition that attributes to dry mouth. Your dentist will look for signs of tooth decay and gum disease that are commonly caused by dry mouth. A prescription mouthwash designed to increase saliva production may be prescribed.

Bad Tooth

A rotting or dying tooth can cause bad breath. A rotting tooth typically changes in color from the rest of your teeth, appearing gray, brown, or even lightly green-tinged in appearance. Even if a dead or dying tooth doesn’t cause you pain, the offending tooth can cause tooth decay in other teeth, or lead to a serious infection in your mouth.

Your dentist will remove the tooth and treat any surrounding teeth that are beginning to decay as well.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is common in most people at some point in their lives. Gum disease causes swelling, bleeding, discoloration, and recession in gums.

Press your finger lightly against your gums and make note of any odors you notice when you do so. A decaying or rotten meat smell coming from the saliva that escapes your gums when you place pressure on them is a sign that gum disease may be causing your bad breath.

Keep in mind, gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss. Since extensive periodontal treatments are needed to stop or manage gum disease, call your dentist if you suspect your gums are in danger.


If you wear dentures, then you need to clean them daily to prevent bacteria from building up on the dental fixtures. Bacteria in dentures can cause bad breath and lead to irritated gums or even mouth infections. Cleaning your dentures requires brushing all sides of the artificial teeth and gums and placing the dentures in a fresh cleaning solution overnight when not in use.

Oral Hygiene

You should brush, floss, and use mouthwash every day or as recommended by your dentist. When brushing, brush your tongue as well, since your tongue’s taste buds harbor bacteria that may not be removed with regular brushing.

If your bad breath persists, then your dentist may prescribe a special mouthwash or toothpaste designed to increase your oral health and keep germs at bay.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco in both smoking and smokeless forms leaves chemical residue in your mouth that stays on your teeth, gums, and tongue. Even with regular oral hygiene practices, this habit can continue to give you bad breath.

If you cannot quit using tobacco, then speak to your dentist about special kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash designed for tobacco users. Your bad breath can be managed with the right dental tools.

If you have to chew gum, suck on mints, or consume excessive amounts of water to manage your bad breath, then it’s time to see your dentist. Your dentist will treat your bad breath symptoms and address the cause of what makes your breath poor in the first place.

Our dental professionals at the office of JP Dental and Implant Center will address all your general and cosmetic dental needs. Make an appointment with us today.