Four Stinky Reasons Your Breath Is Bad

SAN FRANCISCO- Have you ever received that subtle nudge from a friend suggesting you reach for some mints? Millions of Americans live with embarrassing bad breath, known medically as halitosis. Sadly, no amount of minty freshness can mask the underlying causes of foul breath. 

“Unpleasant breath hinders confidence and your ability to converse with those around you,” says San Francisco dentist Dr. Robert Walley. “It’s important to recognize the factors that contribute to that bad odor so you can prevent it.” 

The culprit behind all cases of smelly breath is an accumulation of odor-causing oral bacteria. Such bacteria claim residence in your mouth for multiple reasons, a few of which may surprise you. Here’s four chief reasons why your breath may be less than fresh:

1. Substandard oral hygiene. Diligent brushing, flossing and adequate use of an antiseptic mouth rinse is key to ousting harmful (and odoriferous) bacteria. If food debris remains in the mouth for too long, it promotes the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the gums, between teeth and on the tongue. 

Be sure to implement a thorough oral hygiene routine to eliminate the offending bacteria, especially in the morning and at night. Salivary glands slow during sleep, which creates an environment perfect for bacteria to multiply. (Ever wonder where morning breath originates?) If you neglect your oral hygiene, acquiring a nasty case of bad breath is a certainty. 

2. Mouth breathing. Some people are natural mouth breathers, while others turn into one when fighting a bout of nasal congestion. Mouth breathing dries out the mouth. If you find yourself relying on your mouth for air, be sure to hydrate often. Drinking water will stimulate saliva production (necessary to rinse away food debris and toxins between brushing) and replenish dry tissues that spur the development of stinky bacteria. 

3. Too much protein. Onions and garlic aren’t the only foods that leave your breath smelling funky. Ever heard of “Ketobreath?” That’s the product of burning fat through a low carb/high protein diet. Pungent-smelling ketones are produced as the fat is dissolved. Dairy products and foods rich in protein generate amino acids, which feed into oral bacteria. 

4. Illness. Certain illnesses contribute to bad breath in a number of ways. Some medications cause dry mouth, which hinders saliva production and allows bacteria to develop and collect. A cold or sinus infection produces mucus that promote bacteria growth. Some conditions even cause bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. These include:

  Kidney disease

  Gum disease




  Postnasal drip 


How To Curb Bad Breath:

Because bad breath stems from the presence of odor-causing bacteria, it’s important to make the cleanliness of your teeth and gums a priority. All it takes is a few more minutes with your toothbrush and floss to kick out nasty bacteria and achieve fresh breath. 

Depending on the amount of certain bacteria naturally present in the mouth, some patients may have a more difficult time nixing their bad breath. That’s where Dr. Walley and our staff at Robert M. Walley, D.D.S. come in. We can assist patients with more severe cases of halitosis by administering deep professional cleanings and treating gum disease, a common cause of foul breath. 

Contact us at Robert M. Walley, D.D.S. to learn more. We look forward to giving you the healthy smile (and great breath) you deserve.