Protecting and perfecting your smile

June 11, 2018

Battling Bad Breath

Woman with Halitosis

At times we may have a bad taste in our mouth that can smell bad and we worry about bad breath. Studies show that the smell of our breath may say something about our health. Here are some causes of bad breath:


Taking medications, vitamins, even herbs, can create a smell in our breath. Because many medications cause dry mouth, they can contribute to bad breath because saliva is a good cleaner. Saliva keeps the mouth healthy.



There are hundreds of bacteria in the mouth. Some are helpful in breaking down food for digestion. Dry mouth from sleeping with your mouth open or breathing through your mouth creates a better home for bacteria. Acid reflux can damage your throat and mouth creating an environment for smelly bacterial growth. Any infection in the sinuses can create an abundance of bad bacteria that contribute to smelly breath since mucus harbors them.

Gum disease

Inflammation and infection give off a metallic or “sulfur like” smell.


“Fruity” smelling breath can be a sign that your body is using fat for fuel instead of sugar or glucose. This means you are running low on insulin.
Tonsil Stones: This is a food particle that gets lodged in your tonsils and calcifies. They usually don’t cause any problems, but they are a feeding ground for bacteria which contributes to bad breath.


Did you know that “fishy” smelling breath can indicate your kidneys are not ridding your body of the waste that they should? A sweet, moldy, smell called “fetor hepaticus” is a sign that your liver is not working well. Some forms of cancer cause bad breath, so if you notice this as a constant problem, consult your doctor to find a cause.


Saliva is key to creating a healthy environment in your mouth. It simply washes away bacteria. If you don’t make enough saliva, drink plenty of water and switch with water after you eat to keep food particles from sticking to your teeth.

The best way I have found to control bad breath is to brush after every meal, floss each night before bed, and drink lots of water.

If you have any questions about this topic, you may respond on this site and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Keep Smiling!

Pam Funk, BS, RDH

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Cohen Dental

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Salt Lake City, UT 84124