What Causes Bad Breath and How You Can Prevent It

Bad breath (also known as halitosis) is a common condition experienced by many people. While it isn’t overly serious, it can affect the way people talk and eat as they tend to be embarrassed by the smell. It also affects the way people interact with you—bad breath is an instant turn-off for many!
In this article, we’ll be talking about the common causes of bad breath and simple ways you can stop bad breath.

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath is caused by any number of things. Here are the most common reasons for a stinky mouth:


Your mouth is home to billions of both good and bad bacteria. However, when you start getting too much of either, they start clinging to your teeth and gums, feeding off the sugars you eat in your diet and leaving a waste product that can leave your breath smelling foul.

Lack of Saliva

A dry mouth happens when your mouth doesn’t produce as much saliva as it should. Saliva is crucial for your dental hygiene as it flushes out waste from your mouth, including food debris and bacteria.
Lack of saliva can be caused by salivary gland problems, dehydration, and breathing problems, among many others.

Oral Diseases

If you have persistent bad breath, be warned! Halitosis can be a sign of more serious medical conditions like gingivitis, tooth decay, and other tooth and gum diseases. There could be tons of bacteria lodged in the niches of your gums and teeth, causing bad breath despite consistent brushing.


Like how people chew gum before a job interview or a date to make their breaths smell nicer, certain foods can leave your mouth smelling awful. According to WebMD, the top contenders for bad breath-inducing foods are garlic and onions (due to their smelly sulfur compounds getting absorbed into the blood and expelled through the breath) and coffee and alcohol (due to their strong smell and dehydrating effects).

Smoking Habits

There are lots of disadvantages to smoking. Not only does it give you bad breath, but it also weakens your teeth, affects your taste, irritates the mouth, heightens your heart rate and blood pressure, and endangers your lungs. One in two smokers eventually dies due to complications caused by smoking.
You might not even realize you’ve got bad breath if you smoke. It affects the way you smell—while you think your breath smells decent, the rest of the world won’t!

Medical Conditions

Aside from dental problems like tooth and gum diseases, bad breath could be a symptom of issues elsewhere in the body. Problems in the liver, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines can cause you to have bad breath. In that case, your dentist might refer you to a doctor.

Solutions to Bad Breath

Bad breath is an embarrassing and anxiety-inducing trait for a lot of people. If you want to fix your bad breath problems or prevent them from ever happening, here are some easy ways for you to do so:

Practice Proper Dental Hygiene

The number one way to prevent bad breath is to maintain good dental hygiene! Brush your teeth, tongue, and cheeks two to three times a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss every day to get rid of the gunk between your teeth and prevent plaque and tartar from forming.

Rinse Your Mouth with Mouthwash

If you’re looking for an immediate answer to bad breath, mouthwash is your friend. It helps wash out bacteria, and the strong scent and taste can temporarily mask bad breath. However, if you’re looking for a more permanent solution to bad breath, brushing and flossing are still the way to go.

Clean Removable Parts

When people wear things like retainers and dentures, it’s important to take them out often to give them a thorough brushing. When we talk or eat with these on, food and bacteria can accumulate between the spaces and stay there.
Clean them twice a day—as soon as you get up, and before you head to bed.

Increase Saliva Production

You should incorporate foods and beverages that promote saliva production into your diet.
First off, drink lots of water. If you lack saliva, water can do the work by removing food and bacteria from your mouth. It’s the healthiest liquid to drink. Avoid drinking things like coffee, alcohol, and soda as it dries out your mouth and allows bacteria to accumulate.
Secondly, add fruits and veggies to your diet. Foods like apples, carrots, and celery are crunchy, which means more chewing and more saliva production. You should also try sugar-free gum and candies.

Give Up Smoking

As we mentioned earlier, smoking is a terrible habit that not only affects you but also the people around you. If you stop smoking, you’ll find that your overall physical health will improve, not just your breath!

Make Regular Trips to the Dentist

Bad breath isn’t usually a major cause of concern, but if you’re determined to get rid of bad breath once and for all, you should consult with your dentist. They’ll be able to tell you the underlying causes of your bad breath as well as check your mouth for anything that can contribute to bad breath.


As long as you practice habits that are good for your body like eating healthy foods, cleaning after yourself, and avoiding dangerous habits, then bad breath shouldn’t be a concern for you. Keep yourself and the people around you happy by keeping your breath nice and fresh.

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