We often hope to maintain a good impression on people. However, something as simple as a halitosis/bad breath can become embarrassing.

Halitosis is the medical terminology for Bad Breath.

You cannot get rid of bad breath only by using gums. This will just temporarily reduce your halitosis.

If your bad breath is anxiety-inducing and embarrassing then keep reading this article to know the causes of halitosis/bad breath, and how you can treat it.

woman checking her halitosis/bad breath


What is Halitosis/Bad Breath?

The medical term for bad breath that comes out of your mouth when you speak is called Halitosis.

Around 1 in 4 people in the world suffer from this condition.

You can get Halitosis because of certain kinds of foods and eating habits.

If that is the reason behind your bad breath then you can cure it with proper dental hygiene.

However, if it persists then good oral hygiene is not the only solution.

In fact, bad breath can also indicate a more serious condition that affects your oral and general health.

Hence if you have chronic halitosis/bad breath, it is best to visit your dentist soon.

It is hard to detect bad breath on your own but if you have chronic bad breath then people around you will notify you.

Hence, there are no other symptoms of bad breath except for detection.

You may worry a lot about your bad breath even if you do not have it while others who do smell bad may not even know of this unpleasant odor.

Bad breath is the 3rd most common reason to visit the dentist. People often visit the dentist for tooth cavity and decay, gingivitis and halitosis.

It isn’t that difficult to get rid of bad breath however, first you will have to identify the reason behind your bad breath.

Is it a medical condition? Is it bad oral hygiene? Does smoking give you bad breath? Keep reading to know more.

halitosis/bad breath causes


Halitosis Causes

The causes of halitosis revolve much around food, the use of tobacco and anything related to the mouth.

These include:


Food stuck in your mouth can cause halitosis.

These small food particles can lead to bacteria if you have not brushed or gargled since you ate.

Though bacteria are not the only reason.

Certain kinds of foods and beverages like garlic, tea, onion and spices can cause halitosis.

As you finish eating and swallowing, they will enter the bloodstream and the lungs from where they will have prominently result in bad breath.

smelly foods coming out of mouth


Bad Oral Hygiene

Poor oral and dental hygiene is usually the first cause of bad breath.

Food particles remaining stuck in your teeth can easily cause them to smell bad.

If you do not floss or brush regularly then inevitably bacteria will form there and this can lead to plaque and tartar buildup.

If it remains there longer then it can get serious and lead to periodontitis.

Additionally, the tongue is also an organ that traps bacteria. Again if you do not gargle or floss after a meal then this bacteria will produce a foul smell.

Also if you wear dentures that are not fit and slip or are not cleaned regularly then you may have stuck food particles and bacteria that will cause a bad breath.

So in order to remain halitosis free you will have to look into your oral hygiene and the cleanliness of your mouth.


A bad breath is also a signal that there might be something wrong with your health, whether it be oral or general overall health.

If you have gum disease, tooth decay or canker sores and your mouth is infected then it may produce a bad odor.

Also if you have had a recent tooth extraction and there are surgical wounds that are now infected then you may get halitosis.

bacteria in smoking


Smoking and Tobacco

Using tobacco products and smoking already turns your smell bad.

Tobacco has a distinct smell that is hard to go away from mouthwash or brushing.

Moreover, those who smoke and use tobacco are already susceptible to gum disease.

Therefore, one cause of your mouth odor can be your tobacco use.

Fasting and Dieting

If you are doing low carb diets such as the Keto diet or are fasting then your body starts to produce ketones.

Ketones produce in the ketosis process whereby fats break down to form them.

However, ketones have a strong unpleasant odor.

Thus if you are dieting or fasting then your breath smells bad because of ketones.

Dry Mouth

Your saliva production decreases in this condition as the salivary gland produces less saliva.

Saliva is very important in cleansing the mouth and removing bacteria and food particles that can cause a foul smell.

Your morning breath is due to dry mouth however, if your dry mouth is persistent then it is a result of some disease.

Medical Conditions

It also occasionally hints at some other disease.

Tonsil stones have bacteria that can cause bad breath.

Moreover, health problems like inflammations in your nose and throat (postnasal drip and sinus infections) can also be the reason behind your halitosis.

Additionally, if there is a foreign substance in your nasal cavity, that too can make your breath smell bad.

Cancer, acid reflux (GERD) and metabolic disorders can release chemicals that in return produce a bad smell.


If you take some drugs or medications regularly you may notice that your mouth is drier and gives a mouth odor.

This is because some medicines will reduce the saliva in your mouth contributing to dry mouth which inevitably causes halitosis.

However, these medicines also contain release chemicals. When these chemicals break down and enter the bloodstream and lungs they can cause a bad smell.

Examples include chemotherapy medicines, nitrates for angina treatment and regular use of vitamin supplements.

These are a few of the reasons which may be underplaying when you get bad breath.

Some rare reasons can be bowel obstruction and aspiration pneumonia.

It is better to visit a dentist for them to assess your condition and figure out the reason behind it while also treating it.

woman using mouth rinse


Bad Breath Treatment

Your dentist will detect and diagnose halitosis by smelling your breath from the mouth and nose and will rate it.

They may also scrap the back of your tongue.

They can rate the odor using a halimeter which detects the sulfur concentration in your mouth.

A gas chromatography also detects sulfur compounds whereas a Beta-galactosidase test detects the presence of Beta-galactosidase enzyme.

This enzyme and sulfur can cause a foul smell.

One of the best ways to treat halitosis is to maintain good oral hygiene.

If the reason behind the halitosis is bad oral hygiene then they will recommend mouthwashes that kill off bacteria.

They will also recommend you anti-bacterial toothpaste that is effective to remove plaque and odor-causing bacteria.

However, if your bad breath is due to some other reason then they may refer to your primary doctor.

If the reason is gum disease then they will carry out proper cleaning to remove all the bacteria.

Furthermore, they will check your tooth restorations and dentures to replace the faulty ones so that they do not become breeding grounds for bacteria and cause you bad breath.

However, there are certain steps that you can take which can improve your bad breath.

woman using home remedies for halitosis/bad breath


Home Remedies for Halitosis/Bad Breath

It goes without saying that brushing is an essential component of your life.

However, you should be mindful of brushing your teeth twice a day.

But if you have halitosis then you may have to brush after every meal.

Additionally, use fluoride toothpaste and anti-bacterial toothpaste to get rid of bacteria growing in your mouth.

Though, when you brush remember to brush your tongue as well. The tongue entraps bacteria which can make you smell bad.

Therefore choose a brush that also has a tongue cleaner and clean it thoroughly as well while you brush.

Flossing goes along with brushing. In order to avoid any stuck food particles, you should floss at least once a day.

You should avoid eating foods that can cause bad breath such as garlic and onion.

Moreover, you should quit smoking or tobacco products as they can make your breath foul and give a bad odor.

Tobacco can also lead to dry mouth. Hence, drink lots of water and chew gum to increase the saliva production in your mouth.

However, if you suffer from chronic dry mouth, then your dentist may recommend an oral medication that can increase the production of saliva.

Additionally, if you wear dentures, retainers or have bridges then you should clean all these dental appliances regularly.

This will prevent the buildup of plaque which can lead to gum disease and halitosis.

Clean dentures once a day while you can clean retainers or any mouthguard you use before placing it in your mouth.

This will not only prevent this condition but also infections.

You should also be selective of your toothbrush. Change it regularly every three months and only use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Lastly, the most important point is to visit your dentist regularly twice a year.

A dental checkup every 6 months is the best way to maintain good oral hygiene and keep your oral health in check.


Halitosis/Bad Breath is preventable and curable.

Visit your dentist regularly and take good care of your oral hygiene to prevent foul-smelling breath.