Battling Bad Breath

Posted on 1/20/2015 by Gregory A. Williams
Woman with bad breath covering her mouthWe all know that bad breath, or halitosis, is the original buzzkill when it comes to a first date, but halitosis actually affects far more than that first romantic interview. Bad breath has a variety of causes and can be an indicator of bigger problems; your dentist in Portland believes it's an important issue to address.

So what causes bad breath? There are a few major culprits.


This one is our favorites because it has an easy solution: love garlic and onions? Then brush and floss a lot!

The other food-related cause of bad breath is poor hygiene and the resulting decomposition of food particles in the mouth. It has the same fix as garlic lovers: you need to brush and floss more. Besides smelling, food particles left in your mouth feed cavity-causing bacteria. It's important to clean your mouth regularly to prevent dental decay.

Dry mouth

Lack of saliva can occur for a wide range of reasons, but the result is the same: halitosis. This is because saliva plays an important role in keeping our mouths clean, and maintaining a healthy oral pH. Lack of saliva ups the possibility of plaque and decay, and it means that food particles are sticking around in your mouth, creating an unpleasant odor.

There are many causes of a dry mouth:
•  Hormone changes in pregnancy can lead to dry mouth
•  Some diseases, like Sjogren's, can result in dry mouth
•  Illicit drugs can cause dry mouth (this is one cause of the infamous "meth mouth")
•  Dieting that involves eating at infrequent intervals can lead to dry mouth

If you experience dry mouth, the most important first step is to consult a health professional to learn its cause, and address the problem at the source.

Gum disease

Periodontitis and gingivitis both make for bad breath. In fact, dentists are on the lookout for persistent halitosis as one sign of impending gum disease. The unpleasant odor is caused by plaque gathering on the gum line of the tooth. In addition to creating a bad smell, this plaque also irritates your gums, causing the bleeding and inflammation indicative of gum disease.

Fortunately, if caught early enough (which regular appointments with your dentist in Tigard will do), the fix for plaque-related halitosis is a simple one: step up your oral hygiene. A strict schedule of brushing, flossing, and preventive care with Dr. Williams will usually clear up this form of halitosis.

Medical conditions

Diabetes, lung infections, some types of liver or kidney disease, and other disease states can be a source of halitosis. Again, speaking with a health professional is a critical first step in addressing this kind of bad breath; Dr. Williams partners with other health professionals to note signs of a non-dental related pathology to protect your overall health.


Tobacco products make for terrible breath; your best and only solution is to quit. For resources to help with quitting, talk to Dr. Williams at your next appointment.

Regular appointments fight bad breath!

Regular preventive dental care is the key to a healthy, sweet-smelling smile. Schedule your next appointment with dentist in Portland, Dr. Williams, now!

11820 SW King James Pl Ste. 40
Tigard, OR 97224-2481

Monday: 8am – 5pm
Tuesday: 7am – 3pm
Wednesday: 8am – 5pm
Thursday: 7am – 3pm
Friday: Closed

Gregory A. Williams DMD | | 503-620-2020
11820 SW King James Pl Suite 40 Tigard, OR 97224
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