Did you know that 25% of America’s population has chronic bad breath? Besides causing embarrassment, bad breath or halitosis can trigger anxiety. Although store shelves are overflowing with products designed to combat bad breath, most of them don’t offer a permanent solution to the problem. If you think you have this condition, you’ll want to see a trusted Asheville dental professional.  

Asheville dental expert smiles

Top Causes of Bad Breath  

Poor Dental Hygiene  

Without regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings,  food particles stuck between teeth and along your gumline will form a colorless, sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Conversely, good oral hygiene prevents bad breath-causing plaque from building up and irritating your gums.  


If you’re a fan of onions, garlic, and spices, don’t be surprised if your breath smells. While these foods give your favorite dishes distinctive flavor, they release gases when cut, mashed, or mingled with gas-emitting oral bacteria. After digesting these foods, their volatile compounds enter your bloodstream, go to your lungs, and further affect your breath.  

Low-Carb Diets  

When your body doesn't get enough carbs, your metabolism changes. As soon as your body enters a fat-burning state of ketosis, it releases chemicals called ketones in your breath. Unfortunately, ketones leave a metallic taste in the mouth and cause your breath to smell like a nail polish remover.  

Tobacco Products  

Smoking tobacco leaves your mouth with a stale scent that lingers in your throat and lungs. Additionally, this habit causes chemical compounds to remain in your mouth, mix with your saliva, and cause an unpleasant mouth odor.  

Dry Mouth  

Besides helping you digest food, your saliva cleans your mouth by washing away food debris that causes foul odors. A dry mouth or xerostomia contributes to bad breath because it decreases salivary flow. Most people complain of having “morning breath” because a dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep. Moreover, your breath will smell even worse if you sleep with your mouth open. However, people can also suffer from xerostomia if they have issues with their salivary glands or overall health.

Asheville dental scaling


While certain prescription and non-prescription medications contribute to a dry mouth by reducing saliva production, others release bad-breath-causing chemicals when broken down in the body.  

Gum Disease  

Gingivitis is a bacterial infection involving the gum tissues. Furthermore, this condition can lead to redness, swelling, and bleeding. If left untreated, colonies of bacteria will grow below the gum line and give off a foul smell that contributes to bad breath.  

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)  

GERD refers to a digestive disorder in which bile or stomach acid leaks back into the esophagus, a tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach. Consequently, the misplaced stomach acids cause breath to smell sour, like partially digested food.  

Tonsil Stones  

Tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones, are calcium deposits in the tonsils. The food stuck in the back of the throat causes bacteria-covered stones to form on the tonsils. Furthermore, tonsil stones produce a foul odor, making severe bad breath one of its primary symptoms.  

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Looking for a Trusted Asheville Dental Professional?  

Cataloochee Dental Group is a multi-practice dental group serving various communities in North Carolina. Our experienced team of dental professionals focuses on giving every patient the highest quality dental care in a safe, comfortable, and inviting environment. We're more than just dentists – we aim to be your go-to source for education on oral health. Get in touch with us today to make an appointment.