Dr Ben Dunster
General Dentist

Why does my breath smell?

Bad breath can be caused by a great array of factors, some on their own, and a mix of the different causes.

Commonly it is caused by,

  • different foods that we eat, such as onions and garlic.
  • Smoking and alcohol.
  • From your stomach or digestive system
  • Dry mouth caused by stress, dehydration, medications, smoking and drinking.
  • Bad dental health, gum disease, poorly cleaned dental appliances / dentures.
  • Plaque, badly cleaned teeth
  • Yeast infections
  • Diabetes
  • Sinus infections/ pneumonia/ bronchitis/ post nasal drip
  • Mouth, nose and throat conditions
  • Acid reflux


There are many causes, so it can be a process of elimination to determine the cause.


Bad Breath can have a huge impact on a patient’s lifestyle, and can cause anxiety and lowered self-esteem.


When you ask this question, a dentist will follow it up with a number of questions to work out why you may have bad breath, and the prevention options

Questions such as

  • When and how long have you had it?
  • How do you clean your teeth / dentures / dental appliances?
  • Do you Floss?
  • What is your medical history?
  • What medications and supplements are you taking?
  • Do you have any health conditions?
  • Are you a mouth breather, and do you snore while asleep?
  • Do you have any allergies or sinus issues?


From here the dentist will examine your mouth, to form a diagnosis and a treatment plan that best suits you.