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Poor oral hygiene practices can lead to bad breath, or halitosis as it is known medically, which can be a symptom of other health issues. The kinds of foods you eat and other poor lifestyle choices can also aggravate bad breath. Halitosis can be prevented and treated, both at home and with the assistance of your dentist or physician.

Halitosis, generally known as bad breath, can be unpleasant and, in extreme situations, even make people anxious. It’s understandable why store shelves are brimming with gum, mints, mouthwash, and other breath-freshening items. But because they don’t deal with the root of the issue, many of these products are merely band-aid fixes.

Among the factors contributing to foul breath are particular foods, medical conditions, and behaviors. With continuous, good oral hygiene, you can often reduce foul breath. If straightforward self-care methods are ineffective, consult a dentist or doctor to make sure a more serious condition isn’t to blame for your bad breath.

The occasional case of foul breath affects almost everyone. However, some people struggle to find a solution to their daily issues with foul breath. A third of the population reports having unpleasant breath in some way.

After a meal high in garlic or right after waking up in the morning, halitosis (Latin for “bad breath”) frequently happens. Smoking tobacco and consuming certain beverages, such as alcoholic beverages or coffee, can also temporarily produce halitosis.

Some people may not be aware of their own halitosis and find out about it from a friend, family member, or coworker, which can be upsetting and distressing. In extreme circumstances, foul breath (together with unpleasant body odor) may have a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life and interpersonal interactions.


Depending on the source or underlying cause, different people have different bad breath smells. While some people have little to no mouth odor and worry excessively about it, others have foul breath but are unaware of it. Ask a close friend or relative to corroborate your bad-breath suspicions because it can be challenging to judge how your own breath smells.

Basically, your mouth is where all of the food you eat starts to break down. Additionally, food is absorbed into your bloodstream, travels to the lungs, and impacts the quality of the air you exhale.

If you consume foods with potent aromas, like garlic or onions, mouthwash, flossing, and brushing will only briefly mask the odor. The smell won’t totally go until the food has been digested by your body. The following typical foods can also contribute to bad breath:

  • Cheese
  • Pastrami
  • Certain spices
  • Orange juice or soda
  • Alcohol

Similarly to this, dieters who don’t eat sufficiently frequently may have terrible breath. Your body’s breakdown of fat releases chemicals that might cause your breath to smell bad.


Both within and outside of the mouth are potential sources of bad breath. Bacteria on the teeth and debris on the tongue are the two main causes of bad breath. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the majority of cases of halitosis are linked to poor oral hygiene, gum diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis, and dry mouth, a condition when the salivary glands are unable to produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. A trip to the dentist could help exclude periodontal disease and spot any oral issues that might be causing poor breath.

Food particles can stay in your mouth and encourage bacterial development on your tongue, around your gums, and between your teeth if you don’t brush and floss your teeth every day. The result is unpleasant breath. Bad breath can also result from gingivitis, an infection of the gums brought on by poor dental hygiene.

Additionally, if dentures are not properly cleaned, odor-causing bacteria and food particles might result in foul breath.

Additionally, smoking or using tobacco-based products can hurt your gums, discolor your teeth, dull your sense of taste, and produce bad breath. tobacco items. Smoking leaves a bad aftertaste in the mouth. Gum disease, another cause of bad breath, is more prevalent in smokers and oral tobacco users.

Food. Bacteria growth and bad odors can result from the breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth. Additionally, eating foods like onions, garlic, and spices might contribute to bad breath. Following digestion, these meals enter your bloodstream, travel to your lungs, and have an impact on your breathing.

dental hygiene issues. Bad breath is brought on by food particles that stay in your mouth if you don’t brush and floss every day. Your teeth develop a sticky, colorless layer of microorganisms called plaque. Plaque can irritate your gums and potentially cause periodontitis, which is when plaque-filled pockets develop between your teeth and gums. Additionally, odor-producing bacteria might be caught on your tongue. Dentures that aren’t cleaned frequently or don’t fit well might collect food particles and odor-causing bacteria.

a dry mouth. Saliva aids in mouth cleaning by eliminating debris that contributes to unpleasant odors. Because less saliva is produced when a person has a dry mouth, also known as xerostomia (zeer-o-STOE-me-uh), this disease can also cause bad breath. A dry mouth, which causes “morning breath,” happens frequently while we sleep, and it gets worse if we sleep with our mouths open. An issue with your salivary glands and other disorders can lead to chronic dry mouth.

Medications. Some drugs might cause dry mouth, which can result in bad breath. Others can be metabolized by the body to produce compounds that are then exhaled.

diseases of the mouth. Bad breath may arise from surgical wounds following oral surgery, such as tooth extraction, as well as from tooth decay, gum disease, or sores in the mouth.

Other issues with the mouth, nose, and throat. Sometimes, tiny stones that develop in the tonsils and are covered in odor-producing bacteria might cause bad breath. In addition to contributing to postnasal drip, infections or persistent inflammation in the nose, sinuses, or throat can also result in poor breath.

other factors. Chemicals produced by illnesses like certain malignancies and ailments like metabolic disorders can give people a particular breath odor. Bad breath may be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a chronic reflux of stomach acids. A foreign object, such as a piece of food, getting stuck in a child’s nostril might result in bad breath.


Oral hygiene is the most frequent cause of foul breath, as was already noted, but there are other potential causes as well.

Rarer factors for poor breath consist of:

Ketoacidosis: When a diabetic person’s insulin levels are extremely low, their bodies can no longer utilize sugar and start turning to their fat reserves. Ketones are created during the breakdown of fat and accumulate. When present in significant quantities, ketones have the potential to be toxic and give off a distinct, disagreeable breath odor. Ketoacidosis is a dangerous illness that could be fatal.

Bowel blockage: If there has been a lot of vomiting, especially if there is a bowel obstruction, the breath may smell like feces.

Bronchiectasis: This chronic ailment causes the airways to open wider than they should, enabling mucus to accumulate and cause bad breath.
A swelling or infection in the lungs or airways brought on by inhaling vomit, saliva, food, or liquids is known as aspiration pneumonia.


Treatment for bad breath is based on the underlying cause of the problem. For instance, if poor oral hygiene is the cause of foul breath, a dental cleaning and improved at-home oral hygiene may probably assist.

However, your primary healthcare provider can assist you with the right diagnosis and treatment of your disease if bad breath is a sign of another condition somewhere else in your body.

On rare occasions, your dentist could advise using specific mouthwashes to fight off specific bacteria in your mouth.

The only way to treat halitosis is to address the underlying cause, as was previously explained. Gum and breath mints only temporarily mask the issue.

Your healthcare practitioner can develop a treatment strategy that is personalized for your needs once they have identified the cause of your halitosis.

The greatest technique to maintain your breath smelling clean and fresh is to practice good dental hygiene. The following are some general principles:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice each day for two minutes each, and floss once every day. Keep in mind to brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper, which you can get in the oral health section.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash without alcohol.
  • Visit the dentist frequently for cleanings and examinations. This might occur once every six months for certain people. However, some people might require more frequent visits to maintain good dental health. In order to help prevent dry mouth, drink a lot of water.
  • Use sugar-free chewing gum, indulge in sugar-free candies, or eat nutritious foods that take a lot of chewing to increase saliva production. Your dentist may suggest or prescribe medications that can stimulate your body to create saliva or artificial saliva.
  • Avoid using tobacco, alcohol, or caffeine products as they can induce dry mouth.


Here are some pointers for correctly brushing your teeth:

  • Use a toothbrush with gentle bristles. Make sure you can access all parts of your mouth with its size and shape.
  • At least every three to four months, or more frequently if it appears worn, replace your toothbrush.
  • Use brief, tooth-sized strokes while holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Don’t forget to clean each tooth’s top, inside, and outside.
  • Avoid applying excessive pressure to your brush. Gum recession could be brought on by vigorous brushing or the use of a hard-bristled brush.

The importance of cleaning in between your teeth cannot be overstated. Where your toothbrush can’t, floss can clean. To correctly floss:

  • Break off 18 inches of floss, then encircle each of your middle fingers with it.
  • Hold the floss firmly between your fingers with your thumbs and forefingers, leaving about an inch or two between them.
  • Guide the middle piece of the floss between your teeth, then massage up and down the length of one tooth seven to ten times. Wrap the floss around the tooth in a “C” shape. (Note: Plaque must be removed from the surfaces of your teeth using friction. Large food and detritus can easily be removed using water flossers. But make sure to use ordinary floss as well if you use a water flosser.)
  • Repeat these actions by wrapping the floss around the adjacent tooth.


A common issue, is bad breath can make people feel embarrassed or depressed. However, having poor breath is not a cause for shame. It’s frequently just your body’s way of alerting you to a problem. The good news is that treating the underlying medical ailment usually helps you get rid of halitosis. To determine what is most beneficial for you, your dentist and primary care doctor can collaborate.


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