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Does veneers make your breath smell?

Veneers are thin custom-made porcelain or composite resin facings that are bonded directly onto the front surface of teeth. Getting veneers is a cosmetic procedure done to improve the color, shape, and overall appearance of teeth. While veneers can dramatically transform smiles, some people wonder if they affect breath odor.

Do veneers cause bad breath?

Veneers themselves do not cause bad breath. The materials used to make veneers are inert and odorless. However, veneers could potentially contribute to bad breath indirectly in some cases.

Here are some ways veneers may impact breath odor:

  • They can trap food and plaque, leading to increased bacteria in the mouth
  • The bonding cements used can irritate gums and cause inflammation, contributing to bad breath
  • Preparation for veneers can damage teeth and expose dentin, increasing odor
  • Veneers may not be properly bonded, allowing gaps that harbor bacteria

With proper oral hygiene and care, veneers should not cause ongoing issues with bad breath. But in certain situations, they could exacerbate existing breath issues if not managed properly.

Can veneers help with bad breath?

While veneers do not directly treat bad breath, they can potentially help reduce bad breath in some cases by:

  • Covering stains or decayed areas that can contribute to odor
  • Creating a smooth surface that accumulates less plaque
  • Restoring damaged teeth that have become odor hotspots
  • Boosting self-confidence and dental hygiene habits

However, it’s important to note that veneers alone will not completely cure chronic bad breath. The root causes need to be addressed too.

Tips for preventing bad breath with veneers

Here are some tips to help prevent veneers from causing or worsening bad breath:

  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular professional cleanings
  • Be diligent about cleaning around the edges of veneers to prevent plaque buildup
  • Avoid staining foods and drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce bacteria
  • Watch for signs of gum inflammation or recession around veneers
  • Get minor gaps or flaws in veneers fixed quickly to prevent odor-causing bacteria
  • Consider probiotics and dietary changes if bad breath persists despite good veneer hygiene

When to see a dentist about veneers and bad breath

Consult your dentist promptly if you notice the following signs that may indicate an issue with veneers and breath odor:

  • Persistent bad breath even with good oral hygiene
  • Visible plaque buildup around veneer edges
  • Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums around veneers
  • A loose veneer or gaps between veneers and natural teeth
  • Food constantly getting trapped around veneers
  • A noticeable odor coming from a particular veneered tooth

The dentist can examine the fit and condition of the veneers and determine if they need repair, replacement, or re-cementing. Any gum inflammation can also be treated. With proper dental care, veneers should not lead to offensive breath.

Common causes of bad breath

While veneers can sometimes contribute to halitosis (bad breath), there are many other common causes of bad breath to be aware of:

Cause Description
Food Garlic, onions, spicy foods can cause short-term odor
Poor oral hygiene Plaque buildup on teeth harbors sulfur compounds that cause odor
Dry mouth Saliva naturally cleans the mouth; lack of saliva allows odor to persist
Gum disease Gingivitis and periodontitis cause inflammation, bleeding, and pockets around teeth that collect odor-causing bacteria
Tongue coating A white or brownish tongue coating provides a site for sulfur compounds to form
Smoking and tobacco Tobacco products coat the mouth and stain teeth leading to increased odor
Medical conditions Conditions like sinus infections, acid reflux, diabetes, kidney or liver disease can affect breath odor
Medications Some prescription drugs can cause xerostomia (dry mouth) or metallic breath odors

So while veneers can be a factor, there are many other common sources of bad breath besides dental work. A comprehensive oral health evaluation by a dentist is needed to determine the root cause in each individual.

What makes veneers smell bad?

There are a few reasons veneers themselves can develop an odor or contribute to bad breath:

  • Plaque and bacteria: Food and plaque can easily get trapped along the edges of veneers, allowing foul-smelling bacteria to breed.
  • Gum irritation: The chemicals used to bond veneers can inflame and irritate gums, causing soreness and bad breath.
  • Improper bonding: If veneers are not properly sealed, gaps between the veneer and tooth can accumulate debris and harbor odors.
  • Underlying decay: If decay beneath a veneer is not properly treated, it can cause a bad odor.

With good oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings, these issues can be prevented and treated to keep veneers fresh and breath fresh.

How to tell if your breath smells from veneers?

It can be challenging to tell if veneers specifically are the culprit causing bad breath. Here are some signs that may indicate an odor issue originating from veneers:

  • A consistent bad odor coming from a particular veneered tooth or area
  • Being able to smell the odor emanating from the veneers up close
  • Visible plaque or debris around the edges of veneers despite brushing
  • A metallic or chemical smell that started after veneers were placed
  • Others commenting on a persistent bad breath even after brushing and oral hygiene

But keep in mind, just having veneers does not necessarily equal bad breath. The breath itself has to be assessed up close, ideally by a dentist, to determine if veneers are a contributing factor.

Can veneers go bad and cause bad breath?

It is possible for veneers to go bad or deteriorate over time, which could then lead to bad breath issues. Here are some reasons veneers can go bad:

  • Breakage or cracking due to trauma/impact
  • Chipping around the edges over time
  • Stains from coffee, tea, wine, tobacco accumulating
  • Gaps forming as bond fails or decay develops
  • Gum recession around veneers exposing edges

As veneers deteriorate, they provide more surface area for plaque, stains, and food debris to build up. Bacteria accumulate in gaps and around edges, releasing foul metabolic byproducts. This leads to increased bad breath.

Signs of failing veneers

Watch for these signs of veneers going bad:

  • Cracks, fractures, or broken edges
  • Chipping or peeling at margins
  • Discoloration or stains
  • Visible gaps or spaces between veneer and tooth
  • Looseness or shifting of the veneer
  • Sensitivity or pain from hot/cold liquids
  • Halitosis or bad odor from the tooth
  • Gum inflammation or pulling away from the veneer

At the first signs of veneer failure, arrange to see your dentist promptly. Damaged veneers not only look unsightly, but provide breeding grounds for smelly bacteria.

Repairing or replacing failing veneers

Based on the location and extent of damage, failing veneers may either be repaired or replaced entirely. Here are some options:

  • Rebonding: If a veneer is intact but has come loose, it may be cleaned, prepared, and re-bonded to the tooth.
  • Patching: Small chips and fractures can often be smoothly patched for a temporary fix.
  • Replacing: If the damage is too severe, replacing the veneer entirely provides the most predictable and lasting results.

For more minor issues like slight stains or plaque around edges, a good professional cleaning along with improved oral hygiene may be all that’s needed. But significant damage requires dental intervention to prevent worsening appearance and breath issues.

Can veneers be cleaned?

Yes, veneers can and should be cleaned regularly just like natural teeth:

  • Brush gently at least twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily, being careful around veneer edges.
  • Use non-abrasive cleaners to polish and maintain the veneer surface.
  • Avoid stained foods and drinks like coffee, tea, and berries.
  • Have professional cleanings every 6 months to remove hardened plaque.

Proper cleaning and maintenance helps veneers stay fresh-looking and odor-free. But overly aggressive scrubbing or whitening chemicals can damage veneers.

Best practices for veneer cleaning

Here are some do’s and don’ts for optimal veneer cleaning:

Do Don’t
Brush gently with soft bristle brush Scrub aggressively with firm bristles
Floss carefully along the edges Snap floss down forcefully against veneers
Use non-abrasive toothpaste Use whitening pastes or peroxide gels
Get professional cleanings every 6 months Neglect professional cleanings and plaque removal
Rinse with water after acidic drinks Constantly expose veneers to staining substances

A gentle, thorough cleaning regimen maximizes the longevity and maintains the beauty of veneers.

Can veneers be whitened?

Teeth whitening or bleaching procedures are not recommended for veneers. Here’s why:

  • The porcelain used for veneers cannot change color or lighten from bleaching.
  • Whitening gels may seep beneath veneers and damage underlying tooth structure.
  • Chemicals in whitening strips or trays can deteriorate bonding cements.
  • Whitening adjacent natural teeth may make veneers look more yellow in comparison.

If whiter veneers are desired, the dentist will need to replace the existing veneers with new ones in a brighter shade. Another option is to match natural teeth to the veneer color instead.

Caring for veneers long-term

Veneers can last many years with proper long-term care. Recommendations include:

  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
  • Avoid nail-biting, ice chewing, teeth grinding.
  • Use a nightguard if you clench or grind teeth.
  • Wear a mouthguard to protect veneers if participating in sports.
  • Don’t bite into hard foods like nuts, bones, popcorn kernels.
  • Repair small cracks right away before they worsen.
  • See the dentist at any sign of damage, infection, or bonding failure.

With meticulous long-term care, veneers can function beautifully for decades without breath or cosmetic problems.


While veneers themselves are inert and odorless, they can contribute to bad breath indirectly by trapping bacteria and plaque around their edges. However, with proper oral hygiene and professional cleanings, veneers should not cause ongoing breath issues.

For patients complaining of bad breath from veneers, the dentist needs to thoroughly examine the veneers for proper fitting and check for areas that may harbor bacteria. Any necessary repairs or replacements can be performed. Combining this with daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits will help keep veneers fresh and breath fresh.