Top 7 Causes of Bad Breath in Adults

Causes of Bad Breath in Adults

Ever wondered why people always “recoil” when you`re having a close-in conversation? Well, one of the common culprits is halitosis or rather bad mouth breath. Let`s face it, many people have undergone this awful experience of developing halitosis.

Developing bad mouth breath can be quite distressing especially for adults. This is because it often leads to social isolation.  Social contact aside, halitosis in adults can also embody underlying health issues. Yes, while everyone has a dragon breath in the morning or after having a garlicky-rich meal- and it`s temporary and normal. However, having a chronic version of fetid breath can be an indication of a greater health problem that needs medical addressing from your doctor.

If you`re wondering some of the causes of acrid breath in adults, this article will help you discover the causes of halitosis, the conditions that exacerbate halitosis, and recommendations for a solution.

Poor Dental Hygenie

According to WebMD (, poor oral health probably the leading cause of fetid breath in adults. See, cleaning your mouth helps in the removal of food debris, which would otherwise putrefy with time, resulting in a fetid breath.

Similarly, when you fail to maintain proper oral hygiene, bacteria in the mouth break down the remnants of the food debris and can result in a fetid breath.

To avoid bad breath due to poor dental hygiene, always ensure that you thoroughly clean your mouth by brushing your teeth and tongue at least twice a day. Brushing alone will not remove food particle stuck in hard-to-get places like between the teeth, and therefore you will also need to floss your teeth regularly. By they way, choosing the best toothpaste can be a real problem but you need to do it to get rid of chronic bad breath.

  • Dental Infections

Dental infections and bad breath

Dental infections are a culmination of failure to maintain proper dental hygiene, among other factors. See, when you fail to clean your teeth properly, a film of bacteria called plaque builds up on the lining of your teeth.

This film-lining is hosts a variety of inflammatory bacteria that irritates the gums and teeth leading to a myriad of mouth infections such as periodontitis and gingivitis.

These infections lone, are a leading cause of mouth odor since they are often accompanied by the decay or breakdown of mouth tissues.

Again, the solution to this fetid breath caused by dental infections lies in proper dental hygiene. Ensure that you clean your mouth thoroughly to avoid the development of these infections in the first place.

  • Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth and Bad Breath

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia (zeer-o-STOE-me-uh) is a condition where there`s inadequate production of saliva in the mouth as explained by Mayo Clinic ( Remember that saliva is the mouth`s natural cleanser and helps in “washing away “bacteria and food debris in the mouth, which often lead to foul smell if left lying idle.

Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, and it`s more evident in the morning, and it`s the leading cause of the “morning breath.” The effects of morning breath are exacerbated, especially if you`re the type that sleeps with their mouth open.

Similarly, a dry mouth can be as a result of health problems such as snoring or chronic sleep apnea. Both of this condition often leads to individuals breathing with their mouths open, consequently drying the mouth.

Finally, a dry mouth can also be caused by rigorous exercises as indicated by European Respiratory Society.

Therefore, if you have the tendency of developing a dry mouth, ensure that you always have a bottle of water nearby, which you can sip to trigger the salivary glands.

If you`re a chronic snorer, make a point of visiting your doctor so that they can address this issue.

  • Respiratory Tract Infections

Respiratory tract infections and bad breath

If you`re keen on your health, you`ve probably noticed that some respiratory conditions are accompanied by fetid breath. Respiratory tract infections such as throat infection, post nasal drip and sinusitis involve draining of mucus within the back of the mouth and nose area.

The drained products are not only a cause of fetid breath on their own, but they also attract numerous bacteria, which upon breaking down the products result in a bad mouth odor in adults.

According to Adithya Cattamanchi, MD of Health Line, most respiratory infections are easy to spot since they`re accompanied by a stuffy nose, mild headaches, and sore throat. Hence, you should visit your doctor for some antibiotics to prevent worsening of your breath.

  • Dietary Choices

Garlic and Bad Breath

There`s a saying that goes, “you are what you eat.” This is entirely true when it comes to oral care. See, certain foods such as garlic, onions, and cheese have natural foul smells and when you ingest them, these odors will stick to your mouth, teeth, and tongue, and contribute to foul smell.

Similarly, some of the drinks such as coffees and cola will not only stain your teeth but are also associated with stench smell.

While we`re not advocating against the use of particular meals or drinks, we recommend taking them in moderation, and if you`re to attend or in a social gathering, try to avoid them as much as you can.

  • Medical Conditions/Systemic Illnesses

probiotics against bad breath
Like we said in the introduction, fetid mouth breath in adults can be a sign of a greater underlying health condition.
Fetid breath due to systemic illnesses refers to medical conditions that do not necessarily affect the respiratory tract or the mouth. Some of these diseases that are synonymous with fetid breath as a symptom include diabetes and kidney disease. There is, for example, a link between post nasal drip and bad breath.

For instance, kidneys are responsible for cleaning and removal of waste products from the bloodstream. In case the kidneys fail and there`s no filtration of waste products, the waste minerals compile within the bloodstream.

The resulting effect of the mineral build-up is a metallic taste in the mouth and reeking of an ammonia-breath like.

  • Lifestyle Practices

Alcohol and bad breath

Some of the causes of fetid breath in adults are as a result of their lifestyle practices. For instance, drinking alcohol is known to cause bad breath in adults. Alcohol is an anti-diuretic, meaning it removes water from your bloodstream resulting in the accumulation of minerals in the body, consequently causing bad breath.

Tobacco, on the other hand, leaves an irritating ”smokers” odor, in addition to depositing chemicals that are responsible for drying the mouth.

The key to managing bad breath in adults is to determine the causes of bad breath in adults and address its faces on. And remember that fetid breath is not a death sentence! And you might also like our article bad breath causes in children.

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