Halitosis, bad breath. What are the causes?


This is the term used to describe bad breath. It is an embarrassing condition to have. What makes it even worse, is that you are usually the last person to know that you have halitosis. As the nose gets desensitized to the smell.

Causes of Halitosis:

1- dry mouth. First thing in the morning we usually wake up to Halitosis, caused by our mouth being dried out at night.

2- Something in your mouth, like food particles stuck somewhere, out of reach of tooth brushes, like a cavity in a tooth. Or under a crown.

Very often seen at the dental clinic, people have crowns after getting root canal treatment on a tooth. The tooth ends up decaying under the crown. The person is totally oblivious as there is no pain. The cavity under the crown is colonized by germs causing tooth decay and emitting foul odor

3- Gum disease. If plaque is not cleaned off teeth, this can lead to inflammation of the gums, and they can produce foul odor as germs colonize the gums and adjacent tooth surfaces.

4- Not looked after dentures. Partial dentures that have clasps made of wires or casted within the metal frame, need to be cleaned thoroughly. If not cleaned they are simply food traps. Causing foul odour.

5- Ill-fitting dentures:

dentures, whether full or partial should fit and have contact with tissues all over. If there is a gap. this will be a food trap. causing halitosis

6- Smoking. Cigarettes smell, and on top of that they dry out your mouth. A good combination for Halitosis.

7- Alcohol. Consuming alcohol gives out bad odor.

8- Some food. Usually short lived, if the person has healthy gums and teeth.

9- Medication. Indirectly through causing dry mouth

Once these causes of Halitosis are eliminated then we can look into bad breath originating somewhere else:

1- Food. some food are digested and cause bad breath via the lungs. So you will have bad breath until they are totally out of your system.

2- Respiratory tract infections, starting with Tonsilitis down to pneumonea of the lungs

3- Stomach problems, like ulcers.

4- Diabetes.

5- Liver disease

6- Kidney disease

Treatment and prevention:

The key is proper oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day. flossing once, using mouth wash can control germs in the mouth eliminating foul odor.

Regular check ups to rule out any asymptomatic decaying tooth.

Other tip to maintain fresh breath:

– Keep nose and sinuses clear.

– minimize coffee intake

– reduce alcohol consumption.

– stop smoking.

– Drink lots of water during the day.

– don’t miss your routine dental check ups.


Bad breath is usually a sign of something wrong in your mouth. If you are following good oral hygiene protocol, organize an appointment to see the dentist to rule out any problems.

 Do you have any tips for fresh breath?

Related Posts

Call Now