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What are the Causes of Bad Breath ?

Breathing is an integral part of life practically. It is used not just to fill in the lungs and blood with oxygen but also while talking, eating and almost everything we do. Well, another important thing about our lives is talking. Think about an extremely good-looking person with a bad breath while speaking. What a turn off. Isn’t it? That’s due to bad breath. So what is bad breath and what causes it? Let’s look into it in detail.

Bad breath is also called Halitosis. It is not only an indication of poor oral hygiene maintenance but also decreases the overall confidence of a person. It creates discomfort in the opposite person also.

Causes Of Bad Breath

Consuming food with odour: Eating strongly flavoured foods, such as garlic, onions and spices,is likely to make your breath smell. Strong-smelling drinks, such as coffee and alcohol, can also cause bad breath.

Bad breath caused by food and drink is usually temporary. It can be avoided by not eating or drinking these types of food and drink.

Tobacco products: Smoking makes your breath smell, it also stains your teeth,irritates your gums and reduces your sense of taste.

The other tobacco products like pan masala, betel nut – they stain the mucosa, decreases oral hygiene.

Poor dental hygiene: The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Bacteria build-up on your teeth and in between them can result in the release of unpleasant gases. They, in turn, cause gum infections and tooth decay.

Presence of any food trapped between your teeth will be broken down by the bacteria.

Medical conditions:

  • In rare cases, bad breath can be caused by certain medical conditions.
  • In some cases, gastrointestinal conditions can also cause bad breath.
  • If a gastro intestinal condition is thought to be causing your bad breath, you may need to have anendoscopy.
  • Other medical conditions that can cause bad breath include diabetes and lung, throat, or nose infections like bronchiectas is,bronchitis,tonsillitis, sinusitis, liver diseases, kidney diseases.

Dry mouth: In the dry mouth (xerostomia), the flow and composition of saliva may be affected. The number of bacteria increases in the oral cavity increasing the bad breath.

Gum infections: The area between the gum and tooth has space. This space has deposits if they aren’t cleaned. The infection of gums remain and bad breath occurs.

Dental problems: Swellings at the apex of teeth, pus drainage from infected teeth can result in bad breath.

  • Consuming medications
  • Nitrates–these are sometimes used to treat heart problems, chest pain
  • Somechemotherapymedications
  • Tranquillisers (phenothiazines)
  • Even in patients taking radiotherapy
  • Poor immunity
  • Patients with cancer
  • Some people are convinced by their own bad breathe even when they don’t have
  • It is called halitophobia, it is a psychological disorder and the psychiatrist should provide the treatment
  • Inflamed tonsils can be another reason for bad breath
  • The presence of fungal infections in the oral cavity called candidias is can result in poor oral hygiene and bad breathe

How Does It Affect You?

The fresh feeling in the oral cavity is lost. There is a pungent unhygienic experience. The increase in the amount of food debris causes infection and swelling of gums, in turn, causing bleeding on brushing. There is a loss of taste acuity. When there are oral sources of infections – it can be accompanied by fever, fatigue.

Constant bad breath also indicates an check on medical history. There is bad breathe in diabetic patients, kidney disorders, liver diseases, cancer patients, patients with fungal infections, gastric problems. Overall effect comes on the confidence of the person. The ability to speak in a group decreases.

The Diagnosis

Bad breath can be detected as soon as your dentist checks your oral cavity. The amount of debris, deposits on the teeth are assessed. Gum health is checked. The presence of any oral source of infections is ruled out. X-rays are taken to rule out sources of infection. They are explained to you and the treatment plan is laid down.

Saliva maintains the oral cavity. In patients with reduced salivation. There is the development of bad breath. So sometimes it can be age-related also.

Treatment Options

  • Brushing and flossing: it is to remove the food debris and deposits. Bacteria can also live on the rough surface of your tongue. As well as brushing your teeth, cleaning your tongue can also help control bad breath
  • The gum infections are treated with scaling, curettage
  • If in Presence of adverse habits, they should be stopped
  • The underlying medical conditions if any should be treated
  • If the patient is taking medications and they are causing bad breath – they have to be modified or alternative should be given by the general physician
  • In case of doubt from the type of odour, the medical conditions can be ruled out with the help of a general physician
  • In case of bad breath due to decreases salivation – you must sip water constantly throughout the day and avoid eating sticky foods


Brushing and flossing is the key to prevent bad breath. You should have regular dental check-ups to ensure any oral hygiene problems. You can visit your dentist and hence keep a check on it.