Yo Dude… Your Breath Stinks

HERE IN OUR SALT LAKE CITY DENTAL PRACTICE, a fairly common question that both Dr. Jared and Dr. Daniel get asked is, “What are the causes of, and cures for, bad breath?”

The interesting thing we’ve noticed is that about half of the time the question comes from the person with bad breath and the other half of the time it comes from that person’s family member, friend, or coworker! (Is there a subtle lesson for all of us to learn there? Is one of those people one of YOUR family members, friends, or coworkers?)

Bad breath (halitosis) has a number of causes—most of which revolve around bacteria. The diagnosis and treatment is usually quite simple. However, sometimes bad breath can be an indicator of something more serious (another reason why we encourage you to keep your regularly scheduled checkups).

If you’re self aware enough to notice that people are backing up from you when you visit with them, here’s a list of a few things that could be causing your bad breath:

Certain Foods

It’s true… Garlic and onions contain oils that can make you stink. The part that most people don’t know is that the odor is probably coming as much from your lungs as it is from your mouth. This can last for a day or two after eating these things. Two courses of action—gum, mouthwash, mints, etc. can help. Second, make sure everyone you’re around ate the same stuff you did!

Simple Illness

If you’ve had a cold, cough, sinus infection, or sore throat it can cause a yucky mucus smell. Naturally, if you don’t get better in a timely way, you should go see your doctor.

Cotton Mouth

Sounds gross, but if your mouth is always really chalky feeling there are likely dead cells accumulating on your tongue, cheek tissue, and gums. We all have what’s commonly called “morning breath” as a result of this accumulation during the night—but it shouldn’t continue throughout the day. Sometimes certain medication that you may be taking can cause this too. If this is a chronic problem, you should probably visit with Dr. Daniel or Dr. Jared during your next visit to our office.


You already know that this makes you stink. We understand how hard it is to quit, but you can do it.

Other Diseases

Some very serious diseases including cancers, anorexia, kidney problems, and diabetes can cause different kinds of bad breath. Although this isn’t common, be sure you are having your regular checkups—both from us and from your medical doctor.

Poor Dental Habits

Simply stated… If you aren’t taking good care of your mouth you are more prone to gum disease which often starts with bad brushing/flossing habits, and can end up eating away at your gums and bones underneath, and eventually you will lose your teeth. Wow. Good news is that (when caught early) gum disease is very treatable.

We hope these ideas have helped. If you have any other questions, we encourage you to contact us and lets visit.

And, as always, be sure to become a fan of our Facebook microsite. It is a fun and informative place to learn and stay in touch.

Thanks again for being our valued patient and friend!