Many times, if your breath smells a bit off, brushing your teeth more often or more thoroughly will take care of the problem. However, if you've been brushing diligently and your breath is still smelly, it's time to consider the possibility that your bad breath is being caused by something more sinister than dirty teeth. Here's a look at three other possible causes of bad breath.

Dry Mouth

Saliva helps wash all of the nasty, odor-emitting bacteria out of your mouth. When your mouth is dry, these bacteria have a heyday, breeding excessively and causing excessive odors. If you find that your mouth feels dry throughout the day, try drinking more water – often, dry mouth is just caused by dehydration. If this does not seem to help, talk to your dentist. He or she may be able to prescribe a rinse or pills that increase your saliva production.

Keep in mind that dry mouth can be caused by certain medications. If you take medication regularly, ask your doctor of dry mouth is a possible side effect. You may need to switch to a different medication or work with your dentist to manage your dry mouth symptoms while you're on that medication.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can make your breath smell, and if you've allowed it to progress past its beginning stages, brushing alone probably won't cure it. Signs of gum disease include sore and red gums, and bleeding from the gums after brushing and flossing. In severe cases, your gums may appear to be peeling away from the bottom of your teeth.

If you think you may have gum disease, use an antiseptic mouthwash daily to help fight it. If you're a smoker, stop smoking. Contact your dentist if the bad breath and other symptoms don't clear up within a week or two – prescription antibiotics may be needed to get the condition under control.


If you have not had your tonsils removed, there's a chance that they're the source of your bad breath. Some people develop smelly, white stones, known as tonsiliths, in their tonsils. These stones are comprised of bacteria, mucus and food particles that get trapped in the tonsils. You may cough up one of these smelly balls from time to time, or your tonsils may just feel sore. Some people can see the white balls on their tonsils when they look at the back of their throat in the mirror.

Most tonsiliths are harmless and require no treatment, but if they are bothering you, you may try to dislodge them by gargling with salt water. Your doctor may recommend removing your tonsils if tonsiliths continue to cause you anguish.

If you're suffering from bad breath that does not go away when your brush your teeth, make sure you figure out the cause. That way, you can treat the condition that's to blame and have fresher breath and better health. Contact a company like Dental Associates PC for more tips.