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Tooth decay smell or rotten tooth smell can be a sign of poor oral hygiene or a sign of tooth decay. Deciphering tooth decay smell or rotten tooth smell from regular bad breath or halitosis can be difficult.  If you maintain a good oral care routine and visit your dentist regularly but develop bad breath suddenly or notice an odd odour is occurring in your mouth it may be a sign of tooth decay and you should see your dentist immediately. However, if you experience tooth decay smell after eating strongly flavoured foods or after alcohol or nicotine use, it can be treated at home. 

Reasons For Tooth Decay Smell

Poor Oral Hygiene 

A lack of brushing, flossing and poor oral hygiene overall can lead to tooth decay smell. Lack of brushing and flossing can cause bacteria that form on the teeth, gums and mouth to release a gas when they come into contact with food. This gas smells unpleasant and can be a sign that the bacteria is eating away at the tooth, resulting in gum disease or tooth decay. 


Smoking and nicotine use can cause tooth decay smell and rotten tooth smell. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of gum disease and tooth decay, both of which can result in bad breath. Nicotine use also dries out the mouth which can affect the smell of breath. Though halitosis can be managed and maintained through a good oral care routine, only giving up smoking will eradicate tooth decay smell completely. 


Certain Foods & Drinks

One of the main causes of mild or temporary rotten tooth smell is food and drink. Foods like garlic and onion can cause bad breath, while alcohol can also cause tooth decay smell or halitosis.  

Periodontal Diseas

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease occurs when plaque isn’t removed properly from teeth through brushing, flossing good oral hygiene. Over time, this plaque turns into tartar which can cause small openings between the teeth and gums. Food, bacteria, and dental plaque collects in these pockets, resulting in tooth decay and tooth decay smell. 

How To Treat Tooth Decay Smell

Good Oral Hygeine Routine

Brushing teeth and gums daily, both morning and night for 2 minutes each time is a good way to treat rotten tooth smell at home, providing you have already sought treatment from your dentists. We recommend using a Sonic Toothbrush, which can effectively deep-clean clean and deliver oxygen to areas of the mouth regular brushing can’t. It is the most effective way to maintain tooth and gum health and treat rotten tooth smell at home. Flossing once a day with dental floss or a Water Flosser and using mouthwash daily will also help combat the bacteria that lead to rotten tooth smell and tooth decay smell.

Active Ingredients 

The oral care solutions you use daily really matter. If you are experiencing tooth decay smell, it is important to use toothpaste, floss and mouthwash that have been specifically created to target bad breath, halitosis and tooth decay. It’s also important to ensure that the ingredients in your oral care essentials are clean, active and clinically proven to ensure best results. Look for the ingredients Fluoride and Chlorhexidine which will work to stop bad breath from occurring. 

Regular Dental Check Ups 

It is vital that as soon as you notice tooth decay smell or rotten tooth smell you visit your dentist. If the odor is in fact tooth decay or a rotten tooth or teeth, only your dentist can treat these oral health issues. Rotten or decaying teeth must be treated professionally to save the teeth and protect oral health. 

Oral Health Education

At Spotlight, our goal is to educate you on your oral health, help you to identify your oral health goals and then achieve them by using our prescriptive oral care solutions. Your oral health needs are as individual as you, so don’t settle for a one-size-fits-all oral care routine. Our clean, clinically proven, active ingredient infused formulations have been created specifically to treat your oral care concerns and we are on-hand to make sure you get the most from your smile.