Surprising Reasons That Cause Bad Breath And 10 Ways You Can Get Rid Of It

Surprising Reasons That Cause Bad Breath And 10 Ways You Can Get Rid Of It

We’ve all had to deal with bad breath at some point of time--think back to when you ate pungent food or the day you forgot to brush your teeth in the morning. However, if you constantly suffer from bad breath, you might be dealing with chronic halitosis. It is a condition that is directly related to poor dental hygiene. It is estimated that one in every four people suffer from bad breath. While having chronic halitosis can cause significant psychological distress, there’s no reason to fret as there are plenty of remedies for the problem. Want to know how to get rid of bad breath? You need to first identify what is causing it to begin with.

Table of Contents

    What Causes Bad Breath?


    While the reasons for bad breath can vary, it mostly boils down to poor oral hygiene--so make sure you brush your teeth twice a day! Other bad breath causes can include certain foods, smoking, alcohol consumption and specific diets. You can narrow down the causes of bad breath to these:

    1. Poor Dental Hygiene

    If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, food particles that collect in your mouth can build up, and then break down to produce an odour. This will lead to your teeth being coated by a film of bacteria called plaque, which can irritate the gums and cause inflammation between the teeth and gums called periodontitis.

    2. Food

    When we consume food, the saliva in our mouth breaks down the particles for digestion. The enzyms released can lead to odour. Certain food in particular, like onions, garlic, fish and spices can also cause bad breath. Once digested, these foods enter your bloodstream and are later carried to your lungs, which may affect your breath. 

    3. Smoking

    Tobacco and nicotine products cause a very strong, pungent odour and if you are a regular smoker or consumer of tobacco, it is likely that you will have chronic bad breath. Additionally, the consumption of tobacco products also increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancers.

    4. Dry Mouth

    The purpose of saliva is to cleanse your mouth and remove particles that cause bad mouth odour. Sometimes, a condition called xerostomia or dry mouth can reduce the production of saliva, which prevents it from cleansing your mouth. In such a situation, it is important to drink plenty of water to keep bad breath at bay.

    5. Drugs

    Certain drugs and medications can produce odours as they breakdown and release chemicals in the breath. Some of these medications include but aren’t limited to: nitrates used to treat angina, some chemotherapy chemicals, and some tranquillisers, such as phenothiazines. You may also be prone to bad breath if you take a lot of vitamin supplements.

    6. Foreign Bodies

    If there is a foreign body stuck in your nasal cavity, it is likely to give you bad breath.

    7. Diseases

    Certain diseases, like cancer, liver failure, and other metabolic diseases can cause chronic halitosis, owing to the specific mixes of chemicals that they produce.

    How To Diagnose Bad Breath


    Think you have chronic bad breath but aren’t sure if it is serious enough to seek professional treatment for? We suggest you head to your dentist. In order to get a diagnosis, your dentist will simply smell the breath of a person with suspected halitosis and rate the odour on a six-point intensity scale. He or she may even scrape the back of the tongue and smell the scrapings as this area can often be a source of the odour. Besides this, there are various tests that your dentist can suggest, which include:

    BANA Test:

    This test measures the levels of a specific enzyme produced by halitosis-causing bacteria.


    This test detects low levels of sulfur in your mouth.

    Gas Chromatography:

    This test measures the presence of three volatile sulfur compounds: Hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and dimethyl sulfide.

    Beta-Galactosidase Test:

    Levels of the enzyme beta-galactosidase have been found to correlate with mouth odour.

    10 Ways To Deal With Bad Breath


    If you’re wondering about how to get rid of bad breath, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out how you can effectively deal with chronic halitosis.

    1. Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day

    This is basic oral hygiene 101. You should be brushing your teeth first thing after you wake up in the morning and right before you hit the bed at night. This is necessary because brushing removes plaque and food debris from your mouth--which are the main factors that cause bad breath. If you are someone you drinks soda regularly, we would suggest you brush your teeth after drinking some to reduce the acidity in your mouth. This is one of the basic ways to reduce mouth smell.

    2. Floss Daily

    While brushing is effective in removing food debris in your mouth, sometimes food can get stuck between your teeth. If this food isn’t removed, it can lead to bad breath. Hence, you should floss at least once a day to get rid of that excess food stuck between your teeth.

    3. Clean Your Tongue

    Still confused about how to reduce mouth smell? This is a very important but often overlooked step in an average person’s oral hygiene routine. Food particles can get deposited at the back of your tongue and if left uncleaned, can lead to bad mouth odour. So buy yourself an inexpensive tongue cleaner, or simply use your brush to clean your tongue every day.

    4. Use A Mouth Rinse

    Once you’re done brushing, a mouth rinse is the last step to fresh breath. You can also use it a few times through the day if you feel like you need to. However, you need to remember that a mouth rinse will only mask your bad breath and not cure it.

    5. Get Diagnosed

    If chronic halitosis is becoming a problem for you, the best course of action would be to visit a doctor, who will be able to correctly diagnose the cause behind your bad breath. This will help him or her in effectively treating the exact problem, instead of giving you general treatments.

    6. Drink Plenty Of Water

    Having a dry mouth leads to an excess of bad breath. In order to avoid a dry mouth, make sure you drink at least 10-12 glasses of water every day.

    7. Eat The Right Foods

    If you want good breath, you should much on crunchy raw fruits and vegetables like a stick of carrot, a slice of an apple or some celery. These snacks can also help alleviate bad breath caused by hunger or fasting. An empty stomach from skipping meals can cause foul breath as acids in the stomach build up.

    8. Avoid Pungent Foods And Beverages

    Some foods and drinks are very strong-smelling and will leave an odour in your mouth long after you’ve consumed it. Avoid or reduce the intake of garlic, onion, coffee, alcohol and spicy and sugary food.

    9. Give Up Smoking

    Smoking tobacco leaves a very strong odour in your mouth, which becomes chronic if you smoke regularly. Best way to deal with the problem? Give up smoking altogether!

    10. Eat Sugarless Candy/Gum

    While chewing on gum or candy can become a temporary bad breath remedy, the sugars present in them can later lead to more bad breath. So your best option would be to switch to sugarless alternatives!

    Frequently Asked Questions


    What Can Cure Bad Breath?

    If you feel like you have a chronic bad breath problem, simply masking it by using sprays and rinses won't solve the problem! First, you’ll need a get a proper diagnosis about the cause of your bad breath. Once your dentist is able to ascertain what exactly is causing the problem, they will be able to give you proper treatment, which can include medication, rinses, or a change in diet.

    What Causes Bad Breath Even After Brushing?

    Persistent bad breath may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth, which is caused by bacteria. The medical condition dry mouth or xerostomia can also cause bad breath despite regular brushing, flossing and rinsing.

    How Do You Tell Someone They Have Bad Breath?

    Dealing with somebody else’s bad breath can be tricky. If it is really bothering you, but you don’t want to be rude, offer the person some mints or candy. If they refuse and continue to have chronic bad breath, then try talking to them politely about how they might have a medical condition and encourage them to visit a doctor. Most people might get a little embarrassed, but they will try to heed your advice.

    Can Bad Breath Be Cured Permanently?

    This depends on your condition and what is causing your bad breath. Naturally, you are not supposed to have chronic bad breath. So once you get yourself diagnosed and treated by a dentist, it is likely that your bad breath can be cured.

    So if you think you might have bad breath, don’t waste your time looking for temporary fixes--book an appointment with your dentist and get to the root of the problem!

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