What causes bad breath? How can you prevent it?


Bad breath, also called halitosis, results from poor dental health and can be a sign of other health issues. Bad breath also becomes worse by the kind of foods you are eating and other unhealthy habits. You can take several steps for preventing and treating bad breath.


But first, let's know how food affects your breath?

In general, the food that we eat starts breaking down in our mouths. In addition, foods get absorbed in your bloodstream and move to the lungs, thereby affecting the air you are exhaling. When you eat foods having strong odors, brushing, flossing, and also mouthwash hardly cover the odor completely. The odor will not go away completely till the foods have passed entirely through your body. Some of the other common foods that lead to bad breath are:

  • Cheese  
  • Certain spices
  • Soda
  • Orange juice
  • Alcohol
  • Pastrami

Dieters who do not include the above items in their food also get bad breath. It is because when the body breaks down fat, the whole process releases chemicals that offer your breath a very unpleasant smell.

Reasons why bad habits cause bad breath

  • When you do not brush or floss your teeth daily, food particles remain in your mouth, thereby promoting the growth of bacteria in between your teeth, on your tongue, and around your gums. This leads to bad breath. Gum inflammation from bad dental hygiene also leads to bad breath.
  • Some food particles and odor-causing bacteria also cause bad breath when you do not clean your dentures properly. 
  • Smoking and tobacco-based products also cause bad breath and stained teeth and decrease your capability to taste foods and cause irritation in your gums.
  • Some other dental causes of bad breath involve poorly fitted dental appliances, cavities, and yeast infections.
  • Some medical condition, such as dry mouth, also leads to bad breath. Saliva is required for moistening your mouth, neutralizing the acids caused by plaque, and washing away dead cells that get accumulated in your tongue, cheeks, and gums. When not removed, these cells get decomposed and lead to bad breath. Dry mouth is a side effect of varied medications, issues of salivary glands, or consistent breathing through the mouth. Morning breath is terrible for those people who often sleep by keeping their mouths open.

Also Read :- Beat The Bad Breath With DIY Green Tea Mouthwash

Some diseases that can lead to bad breath are

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Infection in the respiratory tract
  • Sinus infections
  • Postnasal drip
  • Lung infections
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Liver problems

What can you do to prevent bad breath?

There are undoubtedly quick and reliable ways to control your bad breath. 

  • Practice good oral hygiene: Brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your teeth after eating, and never forget to brush your tongue also. Bacteria accumulating in your tongue can result in bad breath.
  • Visit your dentist on a regular basis: With regular oral exams and professional teeth cleaning, you can find out and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, and several other issues that can cause bad breath.
  • Drink a lot of water: This helps in moistening your mouth. Chewing sugarless gum helps in better stimulation of saliva production, which assists in washing away all food particles as well as bacteria. Some of the gums having Xylitol are best.
  • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, which assist in clearing odor-causing plague and other food particles from your mouth.
  • Keep a track of foods that you are eating: If you think certain foods are causing bad breath, bring the list of foods to your dentist for reviewing. In the same manner, prepare a list of various medications and show it to your dentist. Some drugs play a role in causing odors.

A dentist helps you in treating bad breath.

Bad breath is one of the embarrassing health conditions and is a vital social issue. It can also make your friends, and other social contacts avoid you. When left untreated, the condition may affect your professional bonds. When all of the above measures fail to offer required relief from bad breath, consult your dentist, who can easily recognize the root cause by doing an oral examination and asking you a few questions. Log into MyDentalPlan.in- India’s Largest Dental Network where you can find a number of dentists and also have a video consultation to get you rid of your bad breath.




About the Author:

Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer

Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst


  • C.M Academy
  • Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology

Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.



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