Bad Breath: What Causes It & How To Prevent It

Bad Breath: What Causes It & How To Prevent It

    Halitosis (colloquially known as bad breath) is an embarrassing and downright nerve-racking condition. It can cause people to become self-conscious, have them avoid intimacy and even platonic close physical contact. Bad breath can ruin one’s confidence, making people retreat into themselves, and become shy. On another level, halitosis might sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

    There might be many cases of abuse that lead to this condition, anything from poor hygiene to gum disease. In the article below we have listed out several potential causes of halitosis, as well as some methods you can use to treat it.

    Foods can lead to bad odors

    There are many things that can cause bad breath, most of them starting in your mouth. First of all, the main culprit is most often food. Namely, as food particles are broken down in your mouth, around your tongue and teeth, it leads to the creation of bacteria. This, then, causes foul odors and unpleasant smells. And of course, the types of foods matters as well. 

    Foul-smelling foods will make your breath worse, whether they are dissolved or not. Garlic, onions, pungent spices, these all can lead to bad breath. Of course, canned fish and acidic, vinegary foods also leave us with halitosis. However, dairy and sugary foods also cause these issues, due to the bacteria that comes from having them break down in your mouth.

    Medication and health issues

    Medication can sometimes cause bad breath. Most often this occurs due to the meds drying out your mouth. Other types of medication are broken down by your body, which then leads to the chemicals within them being carried by your breath. 

    Infections within your mouth can also lead to bad breath. These can be caused by wounds caused by having your tooth removed, or maybe because of random mouth sores, tooth decay, or gum disease. A very common cause of bad breath also comes from your tonsils. Namely, when you have a tonsil infection or any other problem caused by inflammation within your nose or sinuses or throat, you can expect your breath to become much worse.

    Bad habits

    A core cause of bad breath are tobacco products. Smoking namely causes very unpleasant mouth odor, as well as gum disease and throat infections, all further leading to bad breath. Chewing tobacco is problematic just as much, as are pipes and cigars.

    Another bad habit that can lead to bad breath is rather obvious. Namely, we are talking about poor dental hygiene. Namely, not brushing daily, as well as avoiding flossing, can lead to bad breath. This allows the food particles that are in your mouth to remain there, dissolving and essentially rotting. This leads to plaque build-up, which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. However, this doesn’t just stay like that. The plaque will aggravate your gums, it can cause periodontitis, which are basically plaque-filed pocket that can be found between your teeth and your gums.

    Dentures that haven’t been cleaned properly, as well as any type of retainer, can also cause bad breath. Furthermore, your tongue can also trap bacteria, letting food particles stay stuck below it. So, getting a good tongue cleaner is necessary, don’t just stick to dental floss and toothbrushes. 

    Other problems

    General mouth dryness also leads to malodours breath. Namely, saliva is there to help clean your mouth, it dissolves particles that can create foul odors, and it helps them decompose faster. When your mouth is dry, you are not producing enough saliva. This can be caused by medication or a sign of a certain illness. It also naturally occurs when you are sleeping (which is a big factor for morning breath). 

    Then, there is the “other” category.  A host of diseases and metabolic conditions can lead to you developing bad breath. However, these might not be that relevant since the chance of them causing it can be slim, and bad breath will be the least of your worries if you have cancer. 

    How to prevent it

    So, we’ve mentioned the many conditions and issues that might cause bad breath. However, it’s a condition that while annoying, can be in many cases easily prevented. Below are the most common solutions to this problem.

    Proper oral hygiene

    Trapped food and plaque build-up can cause serious and severe halitosis. In order to regulate this issue, we suggest you brush your teeth twice, and floss once, per day. Now, you can even brush your teeth a third time, like before a big meeting or a date. However, know that there comes a point where brushing it too much can damage your teeth, even wear out your enamel. 

    Furthermore, mouthwash can be a godsend for bad breath. We all know that it gives you a nice, minty feeling. However, it can also get rid of excess bacteria, since most mouthwashes have antiseptic qualities. So, not only will mouthwash cover up the foul odor, it will also minimize or even remove it. Doing this on a daily basis will definitely help you regulate your bad breath, right at the source.

    Another quick thing you can do is just swishing your mouth with plain water after every meal, and then spitting it all out. It can help you get rid of some stubborn food particles that might have remained in your mouth and that got stuck to teeth.

    Keep your gums healthy, and your mouth moist

    Another common issue that causes bad breath is gum diseases. You should see your dentist, or perhaps your periodontist (a specialist) have your gums get checked out. 

    We also suggest you drink a lot of water, keeping your mouth hydrated and moist. Namely, if you don’t have enough saliva, you will develop tooth decay and maybe bad breath. Now, this can be mitigated by drinking plenty of water, as well as chewing gum or sugarless candy. 

    Keep this gum and candy sugar-free. Namely, sugar feeds the bacteria found in your mouth. They use these sugars to procreate and to create acid. This messes up your teeth, leading to gingivitis, and can cause bad breath. 

    Kick your bad habits

    Smoking should be punted out the door as soon as possible. Kick this habit like you’re Bruce Lee. You can try out different methods to stop smoking, like getting on a special programme, trying out nicotine patches, or just speaking with your doctor.

    Furthermore, avoid foul-smelling foods and drinks, like garlic and alcohol. What you can to do is eat a lot of fruit, apples and pears, oranges, berries, and melons. You will get lots of vitamin C, as well as helping reliance on the ecology of your mouth. Vitamin C will help you combat gingivitis and gum disease. 

    Eating a variety of nuts and almonds can act like tiny toothbrushes, slowing down tooth stating, and removing odor-causing bacteria. Celery and carrots, as well as cucumbers, lead to the production of saliva, which helps speed up the dissolving process and helps with destroying bacteria. 

    Herbs and spices are great as well. For example, parsley and basil act like antioxidants. They break down sulphur within your mouth, basically preventing the smell from lingering. Ginger is also an excellent homemade and natural mouthwash. 

    When to see a doctor

    Bad breath can be an annoying disorder that might have a greater or lesser impact on your quality of life. However, if it becomes chronic, or if it’s accompanied by many other symptoms and issues, then we advise you to seek the assistance of a doctor, just in case. 


    And there you have it folks, bad breath, what causes it, and how we prevent it. Namely, bad habits and poor hygiene are the main causes of bad breath. Smoking, a poor diet, lots of sugar, and pungent foods lead to halitosis. Gum and teeth issues can also lead to its occurrence. However, so does any food that just stays in your mouth and rots. Cleaning out your mouth by properly brushing your teeth, flossing, rinsing it out with high-quality mouthwash or homemade concoctions can do wonders.  

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