6 Surprising Sources of Bad Breath -- and How to Know if It’s Something Serious


Sixth Street Dental


August 28, 2019

We’ve all walked up to someone only to be greeted by the stench of halitosis (more commonly known as bad breath). As you take a step back from the person suffering from bad breath, a brief moment of self-consciousness is cast upon you as you worry if your breath smells bad too. While we all have bad breath sometimes - when we wake up in the morning or after eating onions or garlic - it’s important to note that sometimes bad breath can be caused by something more serious like an underlying medical condition. Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics - a trusted dentist in Pittsburgh, PA - is here to break down potential sources of bad breath, how to solve them, and how you can know if your bad breath may be caused by something more serious.

Tongue Bacteria

A Dentist in Pittsburgh, PA Warns About Bacterial Buildup on the Tongue

tongue scraper

Some people may think that brushing your teeth and flossing is enough. While those two tasks usually do a great job at cleaning your teeth, it’s important to remember that there are so many parts of your mouth that standard brushing alone cannot reach. One of the main places in your mouth that cause bad breath is your tongue. When we eat, bacteria build-up on our tongues and force a while or yellow grime over time. While much of this can be brushed away with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, it’s important to finish the job with a good gargle of mouthwash to ensure as much of your tongue is reached and the bacteria is killed.

Plaque Buildup

Avoid the Common Cause of Bad Breath with Consistent Dental Habits


Nearly all of the bad smells in your mouth are caused by bacteria. Plaque is a bacterial buildup on and between your teeth that forms a sticky film. Removing plaque can be difficult for young children because they cannot see it, which is why it’s important to instill positive dental habits of brushing and flossing at least twice a day. If plaque is not treated, it can wear down enamel to cause cavities or cause redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums -- an early sign of gingivitis and gum disease.

Dry Mouth

A Surprising Cause of Bad Breath, Says a Dentist in Pittsburgh, PA


Many people don’t think their bad breath can be caused by a dry mouth. After all, it tends to feel like your saliva itself is what is causing the odor. However, Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics - a trusted dentist in Pittsburgh, PA - says that one of the most common causes of bad breath is dry mouth. Saliva is used to flush away food particles and bacteria in your mouth, and when there is no saliva, the bacteria remain and multiply to cause bad breath.

Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of factors, but most dry mouth is caused by medications such as anti-depressants. A great way to tackle dry mouth is by chewing gum, sipping on water throughout the day, or carrying lozenges with you throughout the day. If dry mouth persists beyond a side effect of a medication or becomes more unfavorable than the benefits of the medication, talk to your doctor.

Stomach Issues

Bad Breath Caused by Stomach Issues Could Be Serious

stomach issues

A more serious cause of bad breath may be stomach issues like acid reflux, GERD, or frequent vomiting. This is caused by the high acidity levels and chemical makeup of stomach fluids that have an abnormal smell. While the bad breath caused by some of these issues may be short term and manageable, others can be more serious and cause long-term harm to your teeth. However, doctors are often able to help manage this bad breath and stomach issues with medication. For some, the bad breath caused by these stomach issues may be the first warning sign of a more serious issue, which is why it’s important to see a dentist in Pittsburgh, PA regularly for a checkup.


A Serious Medical Condition Frequently Found by a Dentist in Pittsburgh, PA


Diabetes is a serious medical condition in which the body is unable to regulate blood glucose levels. This means that the foods and drinks that a diabetic person has to eat have to be properly monitored and dosed with Insulin, te hormone created to help the body regulate blood glucose levels. These fluctuating glucose levels mean that glucose and sugars are not properly processed and sometimes get left on your teeth, causing bad breath, gingivitis, gum disease, and other infections. Persistent bad breath can often be spotted by a dentist in Pittsburgh, PA and may be a cause to undergo blood tests to check for diabetes.

Sinus Infections

A Common Illness Could be the Cause of Your Bad Breath

common cold

Chances are that we’ve all had a sinus infection in our lifetimes. Not only do sinus infections make you feel congested, sore, and uncomfortable, but they can actually cause bad breath! Your ear, nose, and throat are all connected in the sinus region, which is why your throat will begin to feel mucus during a sinus infection. When this mucus enters your throat, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause bad breath. If you think a sinus infection may be the cause of your bad breath, try an expectorant or visit a doctor. In the meantime, gargling mouthwash may provide a temporary solution to your bad breath.

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of different sources, which is why it’s important to visit your dentist in Pittsburgh, PA regularly to ensure that bad breath isn’t caused by any underlying health issues. Get in touch with Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics today to schedule an appointment and begin creating the healthy, beautiful smile of your dreams. 


Get in Touch with Sixth Street today!

125 Sixth Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
400 Baldwin Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

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