Guest Blog: Halitosis - Bad Breath Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Sunday 14 July 2019

What is Halitosis?

Chronic bad breath or halitosis refers to a persistent, unattractive odour that does not go away after brushing your teeth. Unlike other forms of bad breath such as “morning breath” and “garlic breath,” this condition will not go away with normal dental hygiene such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. Halitosis requires visiting a dentist to determine the cause of your bad breath and to create a treatment plan to eliminate the condition. After tooth decay and gum disease, halitosis is the next common reason people seek dental care.

If your bad breath persists, you may need to visit your doctor to determine the underlying cause.

Bad breath affects 25% of the global population. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of chronic bad breath. The best treatment for bad breath is an effective at-home oral hygiene regimen.

Brushing your teeth only removes 25% of the bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria that cause halitosis largely reside on the tongue, and while also brushing the tongue can help, it will not eliminate the issue.

Bad Breath Causes

Anyone can get halitosis. It can be caused by several dental issues such as cavities, dirty dentures, cracked fillings, and gum disease. Dietary factors such as high protein/low carb diets, acidic foods, sweets, and a steady fare of onions and garlic can also adversely affect your breath.

Here are some not-so-obvious causes of bad breath:

(a) Dry Mouth

Dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when the saliva production in the mouth comes to a halt. This lack of production causes bad breath because saliva typically flushes away the bacteria and food particles responsible for bad breath. Coffee, alcohol, medication, and dehydration can all cause dry mouth.

(b) Diabetes

Diabetes fluctuates your blood-sugar levels, and the extra glucose on your teeth and gums increases bacteria that lead to halitosis, tooth decay, periodontal disease, and infections in the mouth. These infections can worsen diabetes and affect your overall health.

Halitosis can also be a direct result of your diet. It is important to be cognisant about what you are eating and drinking because it affects the conditions within your mouth.

When looking at your diet, consider the following things:

(c) Is Your Diet Balanced?

Aim to maintain a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, and other crunchy high-fibre vegetables like celery. These vegetables help loosen food particles that are trapped in the teeth. Some crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots also remove plaque from the surface of your teeth as you are eating them.

(d) GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause bad breath due to the reflux of stomach acids.

(e) Tobacco

Tobacco products have a strong odour, but also increase the likelihood of gum disease, which leads to bad breath.

Halitosis Treatment Options

Without knowing the definitive cause of your condition, finding proper treatment can be difficult. Visiting your dentist to discuss treatment is your best option to determine the cause of your bad breath and how to eliminate the problem.

Start by treating your bad breath at home, by brushing and flossing after every meal. The best way to prevent halitosis is to clean out all residue from the mouth after a meal. Remember to brush the tongue, too. The tongue holds most of the odour-causing bacteria responsible for causing halitosis or chronic bad breath.

Also, pay attention to the gum line. This area can house many bacteria and is sometimes ignored by those brushing their teeth. Brush this area thoroughly as the bacteria there is also responsible for halitosis.

7 Tips to Prevent Halitosis

1. Consume Less Sugar
Sugar allows the harmful bacteria in the mouth to multiply more quickly, which causes more severe infections and a higher risk of halitosis.

2. Brush At Least Twice Daily
Brush your teeth twice a day at least, with an antibacterial toothpaste. If you can, brush after each meal.
Couple this with flossing afterward and you should have little to no issues with your breath. Controlling plaque and bacteria build-up is the key to avoiding halitosis.

3. Avoid Tobacco Products
Tobacco irritates the gums, making it easier for a bacterial infection to take over the mouth and cause chronic bad breath.

4. Chew Sugar Free Gum
Chewing sugar free gum or sugarless candy can increase saliva production, which helps your mouth naturally clean itself throughout the day.

5. Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Every three months replace your toothbrush to ensure that you achieve a proper, adequate cleaning all year long.

6. Drink Plenty of Water
Water keeps you hydrated and washes away food debris.

7. Book Regular Teeth Cleanings
Professional cleanings with a dental hygienist can address any gum disease issues that may be causing your bad breath.


You can treat bad breath by determining first the underlining cause.

If treating it yourself does not help, seek professional advice from your local dentist. He or she can help you develop a tailored treatment plan to find out the root cause and take steps that can eliminate the problem.

Disclaimer: This article is contributed by a Guest Blogger. Ping of Health does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this article. Ping of Health disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.