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What causes bad breath?

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Almost everyone suffers from bad breath at some point in their lives. 

In fact, a study shows that 35%-45% of the world’s population suffers from bad breath in varying intensities. 

Halitosis is also known as bad breath can be embarrassing, and sometimes a severe case of it can cause anxiety so much that there are many mouthwash and gums to fight the cause.

However these are temporary measures and do not address the actual cause of bad breath. 

Causes of Bad Breath

There are many reasons you might have a bad breath, some of it due to poor dental hygiene and others, a sign of something more serious.

Food that causes bad breath

Breakdown of food particles is the primary cause of bad breath. 

The food particles can get stuck in your mouth and unless cleaned, can stay there stuck between your teeth which causes bad breath. 

Certain pungent foods like onions or garlic can also directly cause bad breath. 

Garlic cloves

Bad breath from gum disease

Does it feel like that your bad breath doesn’t seem to go away? 

Do you have a bad breath or a taste in your mouth that appears to last forever no matter how often you clean your teeth? 

If this sounds like you, then you might have gum disease. 

It is caused by the bacteria that accumulate on your teeth and is also a major factor when it comes to bad breath.

Oral bacteria causing bad breath

Bad breath or halitosis is caused by sulphur-producing bacteria found in the tongue and the back of the throat. 

These bacteria break down the proteins, and as a result the odorous sulphur compounds are released. 

Dry mouth

Saliva helps to clean the mouth around the clock. 

So, if your saliva production is low, your mouth may not be as clean as it should be. 

Dry mouth occurs in people suffering from a condition called Xerostomia. 

It occurs naturally during the night when you sleep, which is why you have a dry mouth in the morning. 

But some diseases can also cause a reduction in saliva production, leading to chronic bad breath. 

Other medical conditions causing bad breath

If your dentist rules out gum disease and mouth infections, you might want to consult with your doctor since a few medical conditions also cause bad breath. 

Diabetes, sinus infections, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, liver and kidney diseases are also known causes of bad breath.

Some medications can cause dry mouth resulting in bad breath, while others release chemicals that are sometimes evident in your breath. 


Along with a host of medical conditions, including gum disease, tobacco products can also be the reason for your bad breath. 

Tobacco also inhibits your ability to taste certain foods and also irritates the gums. 

Finally smoking also affects your sense of smell, making it difficult to understand how bad your breath actually is. 

Keep Bad Breath Away

The key to preventing bad breath is good dental hygiene. Here are a few ways by which you can maintain good oral health and also keep away from bad breath:

  • Brush and Floss daily to maintain good oral hygiene. It helps prevent the accumulation of bacteria. 
  • Dentures should be cleaned twice a day. If they’re removable, take them out at night, clean them before putting them back on in the morning. 
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or after a bout of sickness. 
  • Mouthwash can help to alleviate the bad breath to an extent. For more severe cases, try antibacterial mouthwashes. 
  • Drink lots of water to keep the saliva flowing. Chewing on gums also stimulate saliva production. 
  • Stop smoking; It damages your body in ways more than one. Not only do you get a better breath but also a better quality of life. 

In the event of a severe case of bad breath, you may want to book an appointment with the dentist for a checkup. 

They can detect problems like gum disease before they get serious. 


Make it a point to visit the dentist every six months. 

Any case of gum disease or mouth infections can be caught at an early stage before they become serious. 

If your dentist concludes that your mouth is healthy, he may refer you to a doctor for a more in-depth investigation. 

Following these tips will help you catch the root cause of bad breath before it becomes a part of a bigger problem. 

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