Why Does Your Breath Smell?

No one wants to suffer from bad breath; that's why store shelves overflow with products like mouthwash, mints, and gum. But, even when they leave you feeling minty fresh for a moment, they're only a temporary solution.

Dr. Peter C. Gambertoglio provides people of all ages with expert dental care in Spring, Texas. He shares these insights into what's behind your bad breath and why you shouldn't ignore it. 

Bad breath basics

There's a reason why mints and mouthwashes don't offer long-term solutions: They don't address what's causing your bad breath. These odors can develop for a few reasons, but they often originate in your mouth.

Poor dental hygiene

One of the main causes of bad breath involves bad oral hygiene. When you have a combination of bacteria and decaying food particles in your mouth, they release an unpleasant odor. This can also occur if you have dentures that you don't properly clean each day.

Gum disease

Ignoring bacteria, plaque, and tartar build-up in your mouth can cause gum disease. This serious oral infection affects the soft tissue in your mouth, leading to bad breath, loose teeth, and tooth loss.

Dry mouth

Believe it or not, saliva actually helps to keep your mouth clean and decrease odor. If you don't have enough saliva, it can cause issues with your oral health — including bad breath. You can experience dry mouth for a variety of reasons, including salivary gland conditions or from taking certain medications.


It's no surprise that cigarettes smell bad, but they can also dry out your mouth and create bad breath. Smoking also increases your risk of gum disease, so there’s never been a better time to quit.

When bad breath doesn't start in your mouth

While most bad breath starts in your mouth, that's not always the case.

Your diet

When you consume foods with strong odors like onions and garlic, your stomach absorbs their oils during digestion. From there, they enter your bloodstream and travel to your lungs. This process creates an odor that can impact your breath for up to 72 hours.

Sinus or throat conditions

If you have an infection, it's also possible to experience bad breath. Common conditions that lead to breath odor include:

You can also develop bad breath from tonsil stones or postnasal drainage.

Certain diseases

Sometimes, unpleasant breath can indicate a health condition, like diabetes, kidney disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). These conditions usually cause fairly distinct odors, which can give clues to the cause. For example, uncontrolled diabetes often causes breath to have a fruity fragrance. However, when you suffer from kidney or liver failure, it could have a more fishy aroma.

Resolving bad breath

Fortunately, there are solutions for bad breath once you know its cause. 

Dr. Gambertoglio can help diagnose what's causing your symptoms during a dental visit and make personalized recommendations for your treatment. In some cases, a simple cleaning could be all you need to resolve your odor issues. In others, you may need treatment for more serious dental problems, like gum disease.

If it doesn't seem as though your bad breath is coming from your teeth or mouth, Dr. Gambertoglio can also direct you to a physician to rule out other underlying conditions.

Ready to find solutions for your bad breath? Contact our office by calling 281-350-8852 to schedule an appointment today.

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