The Causes and Remedies for Bad Breath

Oral health refers to everything related to the mouth and teeth. It includes the health of the teeth and gums, as well as the rest of the oral-facial system.

More than 40 percent of adults report having felt painful sensations in their mouths within the past year, and more than eighty percent of people will have had cavities by age 34. Source: (

Oral health is a major indicator of overall health, wellness, and quality of life. It includes a wide variety of diseases and conditions including dental caries, periodontal disease, tooth loss, and halitosis. To protect your oral and dental health, practice good oral hygiene every day.

What is Halitosis?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can often be embarrassing and in some instances may even cause anxiety. It's no wonder why stores are filled with products designed to fight bad odor. However, many of these products are not permanent solutions because they don't address their underlying causes.

Bad breath can be caused by certain foods, health conditions, and behaviors. You can often improve bad breath by maintaining good oral hygiene. If simple self-caring techniques don't solve the issue, see your dentist or doctor to be sure a more severe condition isn't causing your problem.

If you have a bad mouth odor, review your oral hygiene practices. Try making lifestyle changes by brushing your teeth and tongue, using dental floss, and drinking plenty of water after meals.

What are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Bacteria are usually found in the mouth, which causes bad breath. Whenever you eat, small pieces of food get stuck in your teeth. Bacteria grow on food, releasing foul-sulfur-smelling gases. Aside from this, here are the main causes of having halitosis:

1. Poor Dental Hygiene

Poor dental hygiene is the most common cause of bad mouth odor. If you do not brush and floss often enough, the bacteria in your oral cavity continues to grow, and a layer of plaque forms on your teeth. If plaque is not brushed away at least twice a day, it produces a bad smell and causes cavities.

2. Dry Mouth

Saliva helps clean your mouth, removing particles from your mouth that cause bad smells. Dry mouth or Xerostomia can cause bad breath because production of salivary glands is decreased. During sleep, dry mouth naturally occurs, which leads to morning breath, and it gets worse if you sleep with your mouth open. Dry mouth can be caused by several factors including a problem with your salivation glands and some diseases.

3. Smoking

Tobacco products cause their own unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely than nonusers to have gum disease, which is another source of bad breath. Smokers usually get what is commonly called “smoker’s breath,” which is a stale scent produced by cigarette smoke that lingers in their throats and lungs. Smoking also leaves chemical substances in your mouth that can combine with your saliva and cause foul breath.

4. Certain Food and Medications

Food particles in and around your mouth can increase bacteria and cause an unpleasant smell. Certain foods, such as onions and garlic, can cause bad breath. Spices can also cause bad breath. After you eat these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried through your lungs, and affect your breath. Some medications can indirectly cause bad breath by contributing to a dry mouth. They can be broken down into the body to release chemicals which can then be carried in your breath.

5. Specific Health Conditions and Other Causes

Some diseases, such as certain types of cancer, and conditions, such as metabolic disorders, may cause a distinct breath odor because of the chemicals they produce. If you suffer from chronic reflux of stomach acids, you may experience bad breath. Bad breath can sometimes be caused by small stones that form in your tonsils and are covered by bacteria that produce an odor. Chronic infections or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses can contribute to bad breath.

Things to Do to Cure Bad Breath

To reduce bad breath and prevent cavities, brush, and floss regularly and visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups. Bad breath may be treated differently depending on its cause. If your bad breath is caused by an underlying health condition, your dentist may recommend that you see your primary care physician. Here are some ways to cure and prevent bad breath:

  1. Manage your diet. Avoid eating foods that can cause bad breath such as onions and garlic. Eating too many sweets is also linked with bad oral hygiene.
  2. Brushing your teeth after you eat helps prevent cavities. Use toothpaste with fluoride content at least twice a day. Especially after meals. Antibacterial toothpaste helps reduce bad odor from your mouth.
  3. Brush or scrape your tongue. Brushing your tongue may help reduce bad breath. People who have a significantly overgrown coating of bacteria on their tongues may benefit from using a scraper. You could also use a toothbrush that comes with a built-in tongue cleaning device.
  4. Floss regularly at least once a day. Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from within your mouth, helping to control bad breath.
  5. Have regular dental checkups. Make sure to see your dentist regularly — usually twice a year — to get your teeth or dentures checked and cleaned.