Dentist Questions Bad Breath

Why do I still have bad breath after brushing my teeth?

I'm only 24 years old, but I noticed that even after brushing my teeth I have really bad breath. I chew gum and have mints to try and freshen it, but the smell comes back. What's causing this?

11 Answers

Try brushing your tongue as far back as you can go without gagging. Most of the smell is from the tongue, not the teeth.
Make sure in addition to brushing you are flossing. Flossing removes the food and debris that likes to lodge itself in between teeth and cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. You can also start introducing mouth rinses to help reduce oral bacteria as well as drinking more water.
There are many things that could cause this, including but not limited to the following: You could have calculus (tartar) under your gums or between your teeth that can only be removed by a dental professional. The cause could also be due to bacteria on your tongue that is not adequately removed. I recommend seeing a dentist for evaluation.
A lot of mouth odor is not dental related. If you have good oral hygiene brushing, flossing, and sometimes using a tongue scraper and still have odor then look to other conditions. Post nasal drip, sinus problems and gastric issues. The mouth wash Smart Mouth works well for sulfur smells.
Persistent halitosis is usually from periodontal disease but some medical conditions can cause it. Consult your dentist or periodontist for diagnosis and treatment.
A foul odor usually means you may have some form of gum disease. You need to make an appointment with your doctor. Gum disease is controlled, you may be given choices of how you want to treat your gum problems, it may involve having your teeth clean and doing good home care to having your gums treated surgically or have your entire mouth gum disease gone in one treatment with a laser. The latest treatment called LANAP removes all gum disease with one treatment, but the patients are taught how that home care without the patient doing his part will continue to cause the gum disease to destroy more bone and loosen teeth.
Bad breath is cause by bacteria. The first thing I would do is make sure you’re brushing correctly for 2 minutes, flossing and make sure to brush your tongue. I also recommend using mouthwash after. If you continue to have bad breath, I would recommend seeing a dentist. You may have gingivitis or even a more serious condition, periodontal disease.
You could have periodontal (gum) disease and without proper cleanings and maintenance the smell will still remain.

John Shoemaker, DDS, DICOI

Possibly a couple things. Gastrointestinal problems frequently cause bad breath. However, from a dental aspect it could easily be from periodontal disease. Many bacteria cause bad breath and mere brushing will not kill them. Most bacteria hide under the gums. I’d definitely see your dentist for a check-up.
Hope this helps.

Dr. Jenkins
There are several reasons why you may be experiencing halitosis and a medical professional can help you pin point the source. Some examples of the cause are not brushing your tongue each day, daily food choice selections, possibly undiagnosed gingivitis/periodontitis, or GI issues. Please seek a complete oral exam by a dental professional you trust to help you with this very personal and sensitive concern.


Dr. B
Bad breath can come from your stomach, sinuses, tonsils or tongue as well as your teeth. Do you floss also? This is very important. When is the last time you had a professional cleaning? All things to consider when diagnosing the reason for bad breath.