Reasons for Bad Breath

Bad breath is caused by oral bacteria. When these bacteria feed on food particles in the mouth, the byproduct is volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which are responsible for bad breath. The best way to prevent this condition is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting our dentist in Salem, OR, at Cascade Dental Group LLC regularly. It’s also important to be mindful of what you eat and drink. 

What Causes Bad Breath?

Dry Mouth

A lack of saliva can cause bad breath. Dry mouth is caused by dehydration, salivary gland problems, or issues like breathing through the mouth, sucking on a pacifier, or smoking cigarettes.

Saliva keeps the mouth clean. It washes away food particles and bacteria, and it also fights bad breath by neutralizing acids. When saliva production slows down, bad odors have a chance to take hold.

Gum Disease

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of issues. One of the most common is gum disease. We often have patients come in with concerns about their bad breath, only to find out that their oral health issues are to blame.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in 97302 in a while, we encourage you to schedule a dental cleaning. During your visit, we will screen for gum disease and other oral health issues. If we find that you’re at risk for developing gum disease, we can recommend treatment to restore the health of your teeth and gums.


Certain foods and drinks can contribute to bad breath. Onions and garlic are two of the biggest offenders. They contain sulfur compounds that are highly volatile and pungent. When eaten, these compounds are released into your mouth, leaving you with bad breath.

Other things to avoid include sugary foods, such as candy and soda. Bacteria in your mouth love to feed on the sugar in these beverages, which leads to the production of smelly waste products.


Smoking is a common cause of bad breath. Smoking not only causes bad breath, but it also stains your teeth and causes gum disease. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your breath and your smile.


Medications can cause you to have bad breath. This is because they can dry out your mouth, which leads to bad breath.

Some common medications that can cause dry mouth include antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, antipsychotic medications, hormone medications, antifungal medications, antidepressants, and diabetes medications.

Be sure to let our dentist in Salem, OR, know all of the medications you are taking when you visit. This will help our dentist in 97302 work with you to prevent bad breath caused by your medications. Contact us to learn more!

Poor Dental Hygiene

Bad breath can be caused by poor oral hygiene. If you do not brush or floss your teeth regularly, food particles and bacteria build up in your mouth, causing bad breath. 

Tips for Preventing Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be embarrassing and impact your confidence in social situations. In order to prevent bad breath and keep your mouth feeling fresh, there are several simple tips you can incorporate into your daily routine.

  • Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. This helps remove food particles and bacteria that can cause unpleasant odors. Don't forget to brush your tongue as well since bacteria can accumulate there, too.
  • Flossing is another crucial step in combating bad breath. It helps remove plaque and debris between teeth that brushing alone may miss. Consider using an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill germs and freshen your breath throughout the day.
  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is essential for saliva production, which naturally cleanses the mouth and prevents dryness that can lead to bad breath. Limit sugary foods and drinks since they feed bacteria in the mouth that produce odorous compounds.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups to address any underlying issues contributing to bad breath, such as gum disease or cavities.

If you want to learn more about us, feel free to contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment with our dentist in Salem, OR. Our doctors and team are always here to help your smile stay healthy!


1296 Commercial St SE, Suite 102, Salem, OR 97302

Office Hours

MON Closed

TUE - WED 9:00 am - 7:00 pm

THU - SAT 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

SUN Closed

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Phone: (503) 399-0724