what causes bad breath even after brushing? woman holding hand to mouth

What Causes Bad Breath Even After Brushing?

You would think that the quickest remedy to fixing bad breath is a simple 2-minute tooth brushing. 

But now you may be finding that — sometimes — it isn’t that simple. 

So what causes bad breath even after brushing? First, you need to know what causes bad breath in the first place.


What Causes Bad Breath Even After Brushing?

woman eating pizza

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is pretty common, and it affects people of all ages. According to one study, “the source of 90% [of bad breath] cases is oral cavity such as poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, tongue coat, food impaction, unclean dentures, faulty restorations, oral carcinomas, and throat infections. 

If you are brushing your teeth regularly and still experiencing bad breath, other factors could be at play. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Poor oral hygiene: The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice per day for a reason. Skipping even just once can allow bacteria to grow in your mouth, which can cause bad breath.
  2. Dry mouth: Saliva helps to wash away food particles and bacteria that usually cause bad breath. You may have a dry mouth due to the medications you take. 
  3. Tooth decay: Cavities and tooth infections can cause bad breath.
  4. Gum disease: Also known as periodontitis, this is when your gums become inflamed from plaque or tartar build-up. Plaque and tartar are a mixture of debris and bacteria.  
  5. Tonsil Stones: Those little white dots at the back of your mouth are an accumulation of foods you have eaten. Your breath will stink until you get them out (here’s how).
  6. Tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause other oral health problems and exacerbate bad breath.
  7. Certain foods: Garlic, onions, spicy foods, and other foods that are bad for your teeth and oral health
  8. Medical conditions: Such as acid reflux and diabetes.
  9. Sinus problems: Nasal congestion and sinus infections can cause bad breath.


How To Check For Bad Breath

woman checking to see if she has bad breath

There are a few ways to tell if you have bad breath:

  1. Ask a friend or family member: They may be able to give you an honest answer about your breath.
  2. Lick your wrist: Wait a few seconds for the saliva to dry, then smell your wrist. This will give you an idea of what your breath smells like.
  3. Floss: Flossing can help you detect any odors coming from your mouth.
  4. Use a breath freshener: These products can help mask bad breath temporarily. If the product does not improve your breath, it may be a sign that you have bad breath.
  5. Visit a dental professional: A dental professional can examine your mouth and help diagnose any underlying issues causing bad breath.

If you suspect you have chronic bad breath, it is crucial to practice good oral hygiene and see a dental professional for a check-up. They can help identify the cause of your bad breath and recommend treatment options.


How To Fix Bad Breath

woman brushing teeth to fix bad breath

Now that you know what causes bad breath even after brushing, here are a few tips to help improve your bad breath:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day: This can help remove food particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath.
  2. Floss daily: Flossing can help remove food particles and plaque that can cause bad breath.
  3. Use mouthwash: Mouthwash can help kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
  4. Drink plenty of water: Water can help rinse away food particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath.
  5. Avoid tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause bad breath and other oral health problems.
  6. Avoid certain foods: Garlic, onions, and spicy foods can cause bad breath.
  7. See a dentist: If you have tried these home remedies and your bad breath persists, it’s a good idea to see a dentist.



Bad breath has social consequences as much as medical consequences. Think about it: would you want to be around (much less talk to) someone if all you can think about is how their breath smells? 

Probably not. 

Don’t let your bad breath impact your social life and health. If you’re in Los Angeles, book your bi-annual cleaning with Dr. Lasry!

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