Foul breath | My husband has it

Causes of Foul Breath

Everyone deals with foul breath problems at some point in their lives. Morning breath is quite common. Unfortunately, many people experience chronic foul breath that doesn’t go away easily. Thankfully, dealing with foul mouth odors is typically easy with help from your dentist. To help you understand why you shouldn’t hesitate to seek treatment, we explore a few interesting facts about bad breath, its common causes, and the most effective treatment options.

Poor Dental Habits Cause Halitosis

What are the causes of foul breath? Flossing and brushing your teeth daily will prevent food particles from becoming lodged between teeth and gums. Without complete oral hygiene, the food debris left behind will start to attract bacteria creating a foul odor. Additionally, scraping your tongue is vital to removing the bacteria deposits that collect on the taste buds on back of your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or the bristles of your toothbrush to scrub your tongue. Most modern toothbrushes come with a tongue scraper on the back side of the brush.

Tooth Decay Causes Mouth Odors

While poor dental habits will cause minor odors, they can also lead to prolonged foul odors due to dental caries. Tooth decay is often a result of poor oral hygiene. When bacteria collects in the mouth it can form plaque which combines with saliva to create acid. Tooth enamel erodes with acid formation, creating an environment for cavities and tooth decay. Often, smells can be an indicator of decaying material and bacteria attacking your tooth.

Foul Breath is Caused by Dry Mouth

The scientific name for dry mouth is xerostomia. Dry mouth is sometimes a result of salivary gland conditions, a side effect of certain medications, or mouth breathing. Your saliva is vital to keeping the mouth hydrated. It balances the acid levels in your mouth, and washing away dead cells. Decomposing dead cells that collect on the soft tissues of your mouth create a foul odor. You can treat your dry mouth condition by changing certain medications which cause dry mouth or drinking water frequently.

According to the Journal of Periodontology, regular drinkers are more likely to have increased plaque buildup. Excess consumption causes dehydration and bacteria counts rise.

Infection Can Cause Halitosis

Illnesses like pneumonia, bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, diabetes, post nasal drip, acid reflux, and kidney and liver problems are all contributors to bad breath. Often, it is a sign that you have a health complication. Do not ignore chronic breath problems, but ask your Chicago area dentist what may be causing your specific condition.

Other Causes of Foul Breath

Some of the above causes are immediately obvious. Waking up in the morning with less than fresh breath is normal, since saliva production slows down while you sleep. During the night, your oral bacteria can grow and spread more easily. This leads to an increase in waste production that can smell unpleasant. In addition, eating a meal full of onions, garlic, or other odorous foods can leave lingering smells in your mouth long after chewing stops. These are normal causes of temporary issues and are not concerning. For lingering foul breath odors, other causes may be to blame:


Harmful odor causing bacteria are responsible for more than just destructive tooth decay and gum disease; they can also be the source of your problem. After you eat and drink, plaque will use leftover starches on your teeth and gums as fuel. Your mouth’s natural condition makes it a perfect place for oral bacteria to grow and thrive. Poor oral hygiene and a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars will cause bacterial growth. Bad smells can indicate that oral bacteria is growing. It is also important to keep your toothbrush clean.

Periodontal Disease:

Gum disease is an infection and inflammation of the supportive tissues in the mouth is caused by excessive tartar. If your foul breath is accompanied by tender, swollen, or bleeding gums, you should schedule and appointment right away to eliminate periodontal disease before the infection spreads further.

Dry Mouth:

A lack of saliva from certain medicine, breathing issues, or even salivary gland conditions can dry out the mouth. A dry mouth cannot properly remove leftover food debris or fight against plaque and tartar buildup. Your mouth’s smell may be a sign that you are not maintaining a proper environment for your teeth and gums.

Medical Conditions:

The health of your mouth can be affected by a vast number of other conditions in your body. Health problems such as sinus issues, digestive problems, GERD, diabetes, or even kidney disease can all alter the smell of your mouth. If you have strong oral health but your breath smells, another medical condition outside of the mouth could be to blame. Be sure to tell Dr. Fondriest about any pre-existing medical conditions you are aware of.

If you wait to address the causes of your malodorous mouth or any other sign of dental trouble, then the condition will only grow worse. If things don’t improve after brushing and flossing your teeth more consistently, then it could be a sign of a dental disease that has already developed.

Banishing Hygiene Related Foul Breath

To eliminate bad breath odors, take a good look at your oral hygiene routine and diet. Try to avoid certain foods that will cause lingering odors, and make it a habit to brush for two minutes, twice a day. Finish your brushing routine by brushing the tongue. In order to remove bacteria on the tongue surface, get as far back as comfortable,

Floss once a day to remove food debris that could be trapped in hard to reach areas of the mouth. Consider introducing a mouthwash which can also help to reach bacteria in every area of the mouth. In addition, if you wear  a retainer, mouth guard, dentures, or bridge, give it a deep clean. These appliances can become host to bacteria build up, and may be contributing to your mouth’s odor.

If these practices don’t help you, it’s likely time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fondriest. He can help you locate the cause of your problem. Once diagnosed, the oral health issues contributing to the smell can be treated. Lingering mouth odors are often a sign that something is not functioning properly within the mouth or body.

Learn more about the causes of foul breath

If your husband is battling foul breath that is affecting his quality of life, we can help! Learn more about the common causes for halitosis. While morning breath or bad breath after a garlic filled meal are completely normal, other types of lingering bad breath could be indicative of a medical condition which needs attention.

Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist. He serves clients from throughout the United States