Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be quite embarrassing and can sometimes cause low self-esteem. Bad breath is a common disease. In fact, studies show that 50% of adults have suffered halitosis at some points in their lives.

There are so many remedies on the market for bad breath, such as mints, gums, mouth washing, and other products meant to fight bad breath, but sadly, all these are temporary. That’s why you should visit a dentist to address the main cause of the problem and offer the best treatment. However, bad breath can also be a symptom of tonsillitis or sinus infections. So you can visit an ENT clinic so that the ENT specialist can confirm or rule out if you have either of these conditions.  

The following are the most common causes of bad breath.

1.Poor oral hygiene

This is the most common cause of bad breath. When you eat, bacteria build up on your teeth, especially between the teeth, on your tongue, and gums. These bacteria can produce an unpleasant smell. The bacteria can also cause gum disease or tooth decay.

 Brushing your teeth and flossing should be done regularly because if you don’t, the food that is trapped between your teeth can get broken down by the bacteria and can cause bad breath. You should also clean your tongue while brushing because bacteria can also live on the rough surface of the tongue. This can be a great measure of preventing bad breath.


Smoking is also another major cause of halitosis. Apart from causing bad breath, smoking also stains the teeth, reduces the sense of taste, and irritates the gums. It can also contribute to gum disease, which is among the common causes of bad breath. If you stop smoking, you reduce the risk of developing gum disease and prevent bad breath.

3. Food and drink

Some types of food can cause bad breath. Strongly flavored foods like onions, garlic, and some spices are likely to cause bad breath. Coffee and alcohol, which are known for their strong smell, can also cause halitosis. You can prevent bad breath by not eating or drinking these types of foods and drinks frequently.

4. Medication

There are some kinds of medication that can cause halitosis. They include:

  • Tranquilizers
  • Some chemotherapy medications
  • Nitrates [medicines used to treat angina or chest pain]

There are also other medications that when broken down in the body, can release some chemicals that can be carried on your mouth. If you are having bad breath as a result of the medications that you are taking, you can consult your general practitioner who will give you an alternative.

5. Dry mouth

One of the many benefits of saliva is to cleanse your mouth, thus removing the food particles that cause bad breath. Dry mouth can also contribute to halitosis because the production of saliva is reduced.

Dry mouth happens mostly when you are sleeping, which causes “morning breath,” and it can get worse if you sleep with your mouth open. Dry mouth conditions can be caused when there is a problem with your salivary glands or by some diseases.