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Bad Breath

Bad breath (Halitosis) is a common condition that can cause embarrassment, create social, and psychological barriers, and even affect relationships. More than half of American population have bad breath and they aren’t even aware of the problem.

What cause bad breath?

There are many causes for bad breath, and the most common factor is poor oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings and checkups, will normally take care of unpleasant breath. If bad breath persists, even after good oral hygiene, you should consult with your dentist or doctor because it could be an indication of a more serious medical conditions.

There are many possible causes. They include:

  • Foods – eating aromatic foods especially garlic, onions and spices. After digesting in the stomach, it is absorbed in the bloodstream and is carried to the lungs, where the food odor is expelled through your nose and mouth.

  • Poor dental hygiene – not brushing and flossing your teeth daily, food stuck in your teeth and gums can cause an unpleasant smell. Plaque (sticky film of bacteria) formed on your teeth can irritate your gums, leading to cavities and gum disease.

  • Tobacco products – smoking is common cause of unpleasant mouth odor. Smoking also effects the progression of periodontal disease.

  • Dry mouth – saliva helps to cleanse your mouth by neutralizing acids from plaque and removing dead cells that accumulate in your mouth. If these aren’t removed, decomposed cells would cause bad breath. Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications. It is also caused by other problems involving the salivary gland.

  • Saliva is necessary to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and washing away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If these aren't removed, the cells decompose and can cause bad breath.

  • Medications - bad breath may also be caused by medications you are taking, including central nervous system agents, anti-Parkinson drugs, antihistamines/decongestants, anti-psychotics, anti-cholinergics, narcotics, anti-hypertensives, and anti-depressants.

  • Other causes – Bad breath can occasionally stem from infection in your teeth, gums, sinus, and throat. Diseases such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, heartburn, or gastric reflux can also cause distinctive breath odor.

For more information on your oral health call Dr. Brian Kuo in Arcadia, CA at 626-461-5659 or visit

Dr. Brian Kuo proudly accepts patients from Arcadia, El Monte, Alhambra, Monrovia, San Marino, Rosemead, Pasadena, Los Angeles, San Gabriel, Duarte, Baldwin Park and surrounding areas.


California Dental Association


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