Bad Breath or Halitosis: Causes, prevention, treatment

Bad breath means persistent unpleasant odour from the exhaled breath which remains there for extended period of time. It can’t be just controlled with mints and mouthwash as underlying problem still exists. So, it’s keep coming back and don’t budge away with home remedies. Bad breath affects an estimated 25 percent of people all over the world that means 1 out of the 4 person is affected by it. There are a number of possible causes of halitosis, but the vast majority come down to oral hygiene.

Causes of bad breath

Bad oral hygiene: 

  • If you don’t do proper brushing and flossing daily, food particles remain in your mouth promote bacteria growth between teeth, around the gums and on the tongue. This is the most common reason of bad breath. Negligence of oral hygiene for a long time can lead to bad breath.
  • Bacteria forms a layer called as plaque which irritate and cause inflammation of gums called as periodontitis.


  • Tobacco products on regular use forms stains over teeth and irritate mucosa which cause their peculiar mouth odor. The stains over the teeth make surface rough which increase food attachment which increase the chances of gum disease which can also cause bad breath. So, if you are chewing or smoking tobacco, the effects are almost same. More you take it, worse the gum problem will be and so is bad breath.

Nose and throat conditions: 

  • Infection around nose and throat can also be the reason of the bad breath. Due to sinus or blocked nose, mouth breathing happens which lead to dehydrated oral mucosa as saliva unable to make a layer everytime you breath through mouth. The more you breath through mouth, the more gingivitis occurs which lead to bad breath. In the throat if small, bacteria-covered stones can form on the tonsils at the back of the throat, can produce odor. So, the infections or inflammation in the nose, throat or sinuses can be the potential cause of bad breath.


  • Metabolic diseases are the one in which proper functioning of few organs are affected and lead to specific mixes of chemical production. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is very common cause of bad breath due to the regular reflux of stomach acids.

Does ulcer cause bad breath? This is a very common question as upset stomach and alimentary canal can cause digestion difficulties and indigestion may lead to bad breath. The ulcer starts forming in the later stage of the condition. Ulcer itself may not be the causing factor but the type of bacteria that causes ulcers, Helicobacter pylori can trigger bad breath, according to the studies. Treating the bacteria may get rid of the bad breath and ulcers. So, both are correlated.

  • Here are some diseases which can cause halitosis such as respiratory tract infections like pneumonia or bronchitis,chronic sinus  infection, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux and liver  or  kidney problems.

Dry mouth: 

  • Saliva is a fluid continuously formed in the mouth by salivary glands which keeps the mucosa protected and hydrated. It has antimicrobial properties and naturally cleans the mouth. The dry mouth causes bad breath due to growth of bacteria, inflammation of gums and mucosa. Reasons for dry mouth or less saliva can be dehydration, less fluid intake, mouth breathing due to blocked nose or sinus or salivary gland disease which can cause meagre formation of saliva. Less saliva production causing dry mouth called as xerostomia. This can cause bad breath.


  • The type of diet and lifestyle habits can be a cause of bad breath. As specific food on breakdown produces byproducts which disintegrates further and this food present over the teeth can cause bad odours. Some foods such as onion and garlic can also cause bad breath. After they are digested, their breakdown products are carried in the blood to the lungs where they can affect the breath. So, poor oral hygiene habits along with specific food disintegration can cause bad breath.

Gum disease:

  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque and calculus on teeth due to insufficient cleaning. Complex bacteria cause the formation of byproducts, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can form the pockets in the gums where food will get stuck and the person can’t clean that pockets himself. Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries (cavities).

Prevention & Treatment

There are steps which can help you in prevention and help you to get rid of halitosis. So, here we go —

  1. Be sure to brush properly, practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, morning and evening with toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Replace your toothbrush every 4 to 6 months or after an illness.
  2. Don’t forget to brush the tongue too. Bacteria and food can build up on the tongue, especially in smokers or those with dry mouth. A tongue scraper can sometimes be useful to clean.
  3. Interdental floss is an excellent aid in teeth and gum cleaning. It can remove food particles and plaque from the area where toothbrush fail to reach like between the teeth. So, do it after brushing twice a day preferably.
  4. See your dentist regularly — at least twice a year for check up. Dentist will do an oral exam to detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor. Professional cleaning must be done twice a year as per advised by your dentist.
  5. Try to stop habit of smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips and get the required help to get rid of these.
  6. Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water. It will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum, mints (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva which wash away food particles and reduce bacteria in the mouth.
  7. Try to reduce or avoid type of food which causes more bad breath like onion, garlic.
  8. In the cases where your dentist after checkup concludes that your mouth is healthy and the odor is not of oral origin, you may be referred to specific specialist to determine the odor source and treatment plan.

So, Try to follow these tips to prevent or get rid of the bad breath. Keep yourself healthy. Dont forget to visit your dentist as it need professional help also.

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Published by Kreateurself

I am a blogger. Popping colour and shine to you. I believe that anyone with passion and hard work can carve their niche.

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