Do Cavities Cause Bad Breath

There are many causes of bad breath including digestive problems, metabolic diseases, smoking, and eating strong-smelling foods.

However, a common cause is tooth decay, especially when left untreated. Even the smallest amount of food remains can cause bad breath as it ferments or rots in a tooth cavity. The foul breath is caused by growth and accumulation of bacteria that thrive in the areas such as cavities where your toothbrush cannot reach.

Identifying Bad Breath

Often, bad breath is the result of bacteria buildup in your mouth. These bacteria may cause inflammation on the gums or tooth decay that usually gives off noxious gases or odors that smell bad. Bad breath can easily ruin the best of relationships. The worst thing is that on your own, you may not be able to tell if you have bad breath.

Perhaps the best way of finding if you have foul-smelling breath is by asking a trusted friend like your spouse.  You can pose a direct question like “Does my breath smell bad?”.

Another way to know, though it may seem rather gross, is to smell your own dental floss after using it. If it has blood on it or smells, then there is a possibility that your mouth has foul odors.

Food Residues & Tissue Decay

If you have a broken tooth, the fouls smell could be the result of food residues that are fermenting somewhere inside a cavity. It, however, could also be that the cavity has reached the tooth nerve and tissues are decaying and producing that bad taste or smell.

Even when your tooth doesn’t appear to be affected externally, there could be some minimal space through which some small food particles manage to enter, thus causing the bad smell. 

Managing Bad Breath

80% of all cases of bad breath have an oral source. The key to fighting tooth decay and bad breath is good oral hygiene. Ideally, you should floss and brush your teeth after every meal as it combats the odor-causing bacteria.

If you have probably been putting off the trip to the dentist’s clinic for whatever reason, stop it. Allowing too much time between your dental visits only makes the problem worse. It exacerbates problems like gum and tooth decay leading to cavities that give you foul smelling-breath.


Cavities not only hurt, but they harbor bacteria from rotting food particles that lead to bad breath. Besides the pain and bad breath, cavities from decayed teeth can have long-term consequences on your health. This makes it essential to regularly visit your dentist for checks and have any cavities filled.

Author: Peter Mayhew

Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.