If you frequently wake up every day with “morning breath” and wonder if you are alone in having stinky breath, you are in good company as more than 90 million people suffer from bad breath problems.

Many things can cause stinky breath from something simple like not brushing or flossing your teeth to potentially dangerous conditions. Here are five causes for stinky breath:

1. Not Taking Care of Your Mouth   

A person’s mouth is home to many kinds of bacteria and when that bacterium gives off waste, it causes a bad smell. It does this by interacting with the food products you eat, as well as with the normal tissues and other things in your system.  It builds up on your tongue and causes tooth decay and gum disease along with the bad breath if it is not taken care of.

If a person suffers from gum disease then it makes it even more likely that you will have bad breath because that makes it more possible for the bacteria to live and thrive. Another mouth problem that causes bad breath is dry mouth, so if you suffer from too little saliva then have a talk with your dentist for advice on the best dry mouth relief products to get rid of this problem.

Synthetic saliva products may be utilized by those who have a dry mouth issue as they will help them to make saliva when their natural product is lacking. They come in several forms, including gels and sprays.  Some dentists also recommend chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva to flow.  

2. Going on a High Protein Diet

Lots of us want to lose weight and a popular diet is the Atkins diet, which is a high protein meal way to lose that excess body weight. However, even though high protein diets will help you to lose weight, it could also cause you to gain bad breath. That’s because these kinds of diets make a person’s body burn up stored fat for fuel and causes something called ketosis.

Ketosis makes ketones build up in the body and these are released when a person breaths. Bad news? They don’t smell very good and will cause you to have stinky breath. So, if you are using a high protein style of dieting, then you may need to add some mouthwash or mints to your routine until you get back on a regular meal plan.

3. Illness that Causes Bad Breath

There are also several medical conditions that can make a person have stinky breath, so if you have tried the usual cures of mouthwash, etc. One of the major medical issues that can cause bad breath is gastro esophageal reflux disease or GERD.

This issue causes stomach acids to back up through the throat and is what gives you that awful taste in your mouth that makes you feel like you could vomit. This can be handled by either prescription or over the counter acid reducing medications.

Another disease that can cause bad breath is diabetes. This is because diabetes, just like the high protein diet mentioned earlier, forms ketosis in the body, which causes the bad smell. In fact, if you aren’t on a high protein diet and develop really stinky breath, you should see your doctor to rule out diabetes as a possible cause.

Other medical conditions that may cause stinky breath are tonsillitis, or liver and kidney diseases.

4. Smoking Causes Bad Breath

Cigarettes are not only bad for your health for other reasons; they are another big cause of stinky breath that is known as smoker’s mouth. This is due to the fact that cigarettes have chemicals like nicotine and tar which sticks to the smoker’s teeth and gums. It causes staining to the teeth, as well as giving bacteria more of a chance to form and breed in the mouth, thus causing bad breath to form.

Smoking also contributes to causing dry mouth, as well as smoke particles remaining behind in the lungs and throat. This also causes the person’s mouth to have a lingering bad odor of smoke. Smokers can eat mints or wash their mouths out with mouthwash after smoking to try to relieve the bad breath, but depending on how long they have smoked, this won’t always work very well.

5.Medications That Cause Bad Breath

All medicines have potential side effects, which can include stinky breath.  Some of the medications known to possibly fit into this category are antihistamines, antidepressants and high blood pressure pills. If your medications are causing bad breath, don’t stop taking them until you can check with your doctor for advice. It is much better to have a little bad breath for a few days rather than not treat a medical condition.

Here are some medications known to cause bad breath as a possible side effect. This list does not contain all of the drugs that can possibly cause bad breath, just some of the more common culprits:

Triamterene - This medication is a product called a diuretic. It is a pill used to treat problems with hypertension, as well as swelling or edema. The National Institute of Health lists the side effects as bad breath and coloring the urine blue.

Paraldehyde – This medication is used to treat people who have seizures, as well as being utilized by doctors for sedation purposes. Even though much of it breaks down in the liver, some of it can get into the lungs through normal blood circulation and cause the users to breath out a very bad form of stinky breath.

Antihistamines - These medicines are used to help treat stuffy noses and sinus problems. Since they are meant to slow down the process of making mucus in the nose, they sometimes affect the body’s production of saliva, causing a dry mouth, which as we know is a big cause of bad and stinky breath.


All in all there are a lot of things that can cause stinky breath. If you are suffering from bad breath and can’t handle it on your own, talk to your doctor for advice.