Bad Breath – Causes, Treatment and Home Remedy

Bad Breath - Causes, Treatment and Home Remedy

Bad breath – A common dental problem

An estimate of around 25 percent of people are affected by bad breath or halitosis.

There are many possible causes of halitosis, but the vast majority come down to oral hygiene.

Halitosis is also known as fetor oris. A person affected with halitosis might face one of these emotional symptoms like anxiety, worry, and even embarrassment in certain situations but the remedies are relatively straightforward.

In this Ekdantam Dental Clinic medical guide, we will discuss various potential causes of bad breath, its diagnosis and the possible ways to treat it.

Things you should know about bad breath

Here are some significant facts about bad breath. Read the article until the end to understand the causes and some fantastic home remedies that you can practice at home.

According to the statistics, bad breath or halitosis probably affects every 4th person (1 in 4) globally.

Bad oral hygiene is among the most influential reasons behind bad breath.

Every bit of food that is left in the mouth produces sulfur compounds on its break down.

One of the best practices followed to reduce the odor is by keeping the mouth hydrated.

The ultimate treatment or prevention for bad breath is regular brushing and flossing.

What is halitosis?

Halitosis is a common problem that can cause major psychological distress. There are several possible causes and treatments available.

Any individual can suffer from halitosis or bad breath. As predicted every 1 in 4 people suffers from bad breath on a regular basis.

Among the most common oral problems, bad breath happens to be the third most common problem that people seek dental treatments, after gum disease and tooth decay.

Simple lifestyle changes and home remedies, like better dental hygiene and quitting smoking, can often eliminate the trouble. If problems related to bad breath continues, it is recommended that you get an appointment from your dentist to check for primary causes.

Treatment for Bad Breath

The best practice that you can always follow to reduce and eliminate bad breath is good oral hygiene. This will also prevent cavities and reduce any possibility of gum disease.

It is always suggested that individuals should see their dentist for a routine check-up at least twice a year.

Your dentist might recommend an antibacterial mouthwash or toothpaste that contains an antibacterial agent.

As a substitute, if gum disease persists, professional oral cleaning might be necessary to clear out the pockets where bacteria has build-up in between the teeth and gums.

Causes of Bad Breath

Major causes of bad breath include:

  • Tobacco: Tobacco products have their own kind of mouth odor. Also, consuming tobacco increases the probability of suffering from gum disease causing bad breath.
  • Food: The pieces of food particles stuck in the teeth can result in bad breath. Some foods like onions and garlic can cause bad breath, however, temporarily.
  • Dry mouth: Saliva is the natural mouthwash. If you are dehydrated and that your mouth us dry or if its dry due to a specific disease like xerostomia, then it can cause odors.
  • Dental hygiene: Brushing and flossing guarantee the evacuation of little food particles that can develop and gradually break down, creating the odor. A film of microscopic organisms called plaque develops if brushing isn’t done regularly. This plaque can chafe the gums and cause burning like sensation between the gums and teeth called periodontitis. Dentures that are not cleaned consistently or thoroughly can likewise harbor microscopic organisms that result in bad breath.
  • Crash diets: Consuming low-carbohydrate and fasting can cause bad breath. This is because of the breakdown of fats creating synthetic substances called ketones. These ketones have a strong fragrance.
  • Drugs: Certain prescription can limit saliva and, thus, increase odors. Other drugs can produce odors as they break down and release chemicals in the breath.

Examples include certain chemical compounds used in chemotherapy, nitrates used during the treatment of angina, and certain tranquilizers, like phenothiazines. Individuals who consume vitamin supplements in high doses can also be inclined towards bad breath.

  • Nose, mouth and throat conditions: Sometimes behind the tonsils of the throat small bacteria-covered stones can form and produce odor. Also, inflammation or infections in the throat, nose, or sinuses can cause bad breath.
  • Foreign body: Bad breath can arise if an individual has a foreign body stuck in their nasal cavity, particularly in children.
  • Diseases: Some liver failure, cancers, and other diseases caused due to bad metabolism can cause bad breath, due to the combinations of chemicals that they deliver. Gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause halitosis due to the regular discharge of stomach acids.

Rarer causes of bad breath

As said before, the most common reason behind terrible breath is oral cleanliness; however, different circumstances can likewise be at fault.

Rarer causes of bad breath include:

  1. Ketoacidosis: When the insulin levels of an individual with diabetes are low, the body can never again utilize sugar and instead start to utilize fat stores. At the point when fat is separated, ketones are created and developed. Ketones can be toxic when found in huge numbers and deliver an unmistakable and repulsive breath smell. Ketoacidosis is a severe and perhaps life-threatening condition.
  2. Bowel obstruction: Breath can possess an aroma like excrement if there has been a delayed time of retching, mainly if an inside deterrent is available.
  3. Bronchiectasis: In this long-lasting condition the airways end up becoming more extensive than ordinary, considering the development of bodily fluid that prompts halitosis.
  4. Aspiration pneumonia: An infection or swelling in the airways or lungs due to inhaling saliva, vomit, liquid, or food.

Symptoms of Bad Breath

Smells of your breath can vary depending on the source of the problem. It can be difficult to identify bad breath by yourself, so it is best to ask someone in your family or close friends to gauge your mouth odor.

If you have no one around you, the next best thing you could do to check the odor is by licking your wrist, leave until dry, and then smell it. This will allow you to know how bad the situation is or that whether you have bad breath or not.

A few people are worried about their breath even though they may have almost no mouth smell. This illness is called halitophobia and can lead to mouth-cleansing activities much higher than required.

Home remedies For Bad Breath

Home remedies and other lifestyle changes for bad breath include:

  • Brush the teeth: Make sure you brush at least twice a day, ideally after each meal.
  • Floss: To reduce the food particles build-up and plaque in between the teeth flossing is recommended. Brushing the teeth only cleans around 60% of the tooth surface.
  • Brush tongue: Food, bacteria, and dead cells usually build-up over the tongue, particularly in case of smokers or those with a dry mouth mostly. In such a case, tongue scrubber can be of good help.
  • Clean dentures: We recommend you to clean anything that goes into your mouth, including a bridge, dentures, or a mouth guard on a daily basis. Cleaning holds the bacteria from building up and being moved back into the mouth. The toothbrush should be changed in every 2 to 3 months for similar reasons.
  • Avoid dry mouth: Consume a lot of water. Avoid tobacco and alcohol, both of which can dehydrate your mouth. Sucking a sweet, preferably sugar-free, or Chewing gum can help increase the production of saliva. A dentist might suggest a prescribed medication if the mouth is chronically dry to stimulates the flow of saliva.
  • Diet: Avoid garlic, onions, and spicy food. Foods containing sugar are also connected to bad breath. Reduce alcohol and coffee consumption. Having breakfast that includes rough food can help clean the tongue from the back.

If bad breath continues despite controlling these variables, it is suggested that you visit a dentist for further tests for a systematic checkup for your condition.

Diagnosis of Bad Breath

Usually, in case of suspected halitosis, a dentist will just smell the breath of a person and rate the smell on a six-point intensity scale. The dentist may scrub the back of the tongue and smell the scrubber as this area usually appears to be a source of the bad breath.

Multiple sophisticated gauges can rate smell more precisely.

Here are the common types of equipment used to detect bad breath:

Halimeter: Sulfur level is detected by this.

Gas chromatography: This test is used to measure three significant sulfur compounds: Methyl mercaptan, hydrogen sulfide, and dimethyl sulfide.

Beta-galactosidase test: Identifies the level of the bacterium to produce the enzyme beta-galactosidase to correlate with mouth odor.

BANA test: This test is performed to measure the levels of a specific enzyme produced by halitosis-causing bacteria.

The dentist will then identify the possible cause for the bad breath.


What causes bad breath?

How can I prevent bad breath?

How can I prevent bad breath?

To prevent bad breath, it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth and tongue twice a day, flossing daily, using mouthwash, staying hydrated, and avoiding foods known to cause bad breath.

Can certain foods or drinks contribute to bad breath?

Yes, some foods such as garlic, onions, and certain spices can cause bad breath. Additionally, consuming sugary beverages and coffee can also contribute to unpleasant breath.

Is bad breath a sign of a more serious health issue?

In some cases, bad breath can be a symptom of an underlying health issue, such as gum disease, respiratory tract infections, chronic sinus conditions, diabetes, or liver or kidney problems. If you are concerned, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional.

Does smoking cause bad breath?

Yes, smoking or using tobacco products can not only cause bad breath but can also lead to more severe oral health issues, such as gum disease and oral cancer.

Can bad breath be a result of dry mouth?

Yes, dry mouth can lead to bad breath as saliva helps cleanse the mouth by removing food particles that may cause odor. Various factors, including medication side effects, certain health conditions, or breathing through the mouth, can contribute to dry mouth.

Yes, poor oral hygiene leading to the buildup of plaque and bacteria can cause gum disease, which, in turn, can contribute to bad breath. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help prevent and address gum disease.

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