Bad Breath: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

What you should know about mouth odour; including symptoms, causes, and treatments


Bad breath, commonly known as halitosis, can be humiliating and even cause anxiety in some people. It’s no surprise that store shelves are brimming with gum, mints, mouthwashes, and other breath freshening items. However, because they do not address the root of the problem, many of these products are simply temporary solutions.

A range of foods, health conditions, and habits can all contribute to bad breath. In many circumstances, good dental hygiene can help you get rid of foul breath. If simple self-care treatments don’t work, consult your dentist or physician to make sure your foul breath isn’t caused by something more serious.


The source or the underlying cause of bad breath odours varies. Some people are very concerned about their breath, even though they have little or no mouth odours, while others are unaware that they have foul breath. Because judging your breath is tough, get the help of a close friend or relative to corroborate your bad-breath concerns.

When should you see a doctor?

If you have bad breath, look at your oral hygiene procedures. Make modifications to your lifestyle, such as brushing your teeth and tongue after meals, flossing your teeth, and drinking enough water.

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Consult your dentist if your bad breath persists after making these modifications. If your dentist feels that your foul breath is the result of a more serious issue, he or she may recommend you to a doctor to determine the source of the odour.

Causes of Mouth Odour

The majority of bad breath originates in the mouth, and there are numerous causes. They are as follows:

  • Food particles breaking down in and around your teeth might lead to an increase in bacteria and a bad odour. Bad breath can also be caused by particular meals, such as onions, garlic, and spices. These meals enter your bloodstream after digestion, go to your lungs, and alter your breathing.
  • Tobacco-related items Smoking produces a foul odour in the mouth. Gum disease, another source of bad breath, is more common in smokers and oral tobacco users.
  • Bad oral hygiene. Food particles remain in your mouth if you don’t brush and floss daily, causing bad breath. Plaque is a white, sticky bacterium coating that builds on your teeth. Plaque can irritate your gums and eventually build plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums if not cleaned away (periodontitis). Bacteria that create scents can also be trapped on your tongue. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or that don’t fit properly might harbour bacteria that cause odours and food particles.
  • You have a dry mouth. Saliva aids in the cleansing of the mouth by eliminating particles that create smells. Because saliva production is reduced, a disease known as xerostomia (zeer–o-STOE-me-uh) can lead to bad breath. Dry mouth occurs naturally while sleeping, resulting in “morning breath,” which is exacerbated if you sleep with your mouth open. An issue with your salivary glands, as well as several disorders, can cause chronic dry mouth.
  • Some drugs might cause bad breath indirectly by causing dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body, releasing compounds that can be inhaled.
  • You have an infection in your mouth. Bad breath can develop from surgical wounds following oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or tooth decay, gum disease, or mouth sores.
  • Other conditions affecting the mouth, nose, and throat. Small stones that grow in the tonsils and are covered with microorganisms that produce odour might cause bad breath on occasion. Bad breath can be caused by infections or persistent inflammation in the nose, sinuses, or throat, which can lead to postnasal drip.
  • Other factors. Chemicals produced by diseases, such as some malignancies, and conditions, such as metabolic disorders, can induce a particular breath odour. Bad breath is linked to chronic stomach acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD). A foreign body caught in a nostril, such as a piece of food, can produce bad breath in young infants.
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To summarise, individuals avoid talking about mouth odour, but it is an important topic to address because many people are affected by it. You don’t want others to shy away from talking to you, so try to keep your mouth clean.

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