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Bad breath: cause & home remedy

Bad breath: cause & home remedy

Created: April 18, 2020 | Updated: January 9, 2024

A bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be uncomfortable and affect your self-confidence. While it is a common problem, fortunately there are several ways to remedy and prevent bad breath. Everyone has smelt the smell of bad breath at one time or another – a breath that stinks and sometimes continues to smell even after brushing, which can be a sign of garlic breath or even tonsil stones 

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What causes bad breath?

About 25% 1 of people experience bad breath, also known as halitosis, from time to time. Interestingly, some 84% of people suffer from bad breath from a colleague or teacher. However, you use your mouth not only to eat and drink, but also to talk, laugh and even kiss. In this regard, bad breath can be very annoying and hinder you in social intercourse.

Causes of bad breath

A bad breath can originate from the oral cavity as well as from outside. Some causes include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Bacterial deposits on the tongue
  • Gum disease
  • A dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Foods such as garlic and onion

Poor breath from outside the oral cavity

The cause of bad breath may not always be due to poor oral hygiene, but can also be caused by:

  • Airway disorders
  • Liquors
  • Medicines
  • Sugar disease
  • Liver or gastrointestinal disorders
  • Inflamed tonsils / sinuses

You can have bad breath due to causes outside the mouth. Bad breath (halitosis) is often due to poor oral hygiene. The cause of smelly breath is almost always in the oral cavity itself. 

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The majority of bad breath odours, however, come from the oral cavity itself, especially from the back of the tongue. According to research isaid to be the main cause of bad breath. Bacteria in the mouth convert sulphur-containing proteins into sulphur compounds, resulting in an unpleasant odour. In addition, saliva protects you from these bacteria. However, dry mouth can be caused by several reasons, such as coffee, medication use or alcohol, and can lead to foul taste or bad breath.

Inflamed gums and halitosis

Poor breath can also be caused by inflammation at the edge of the gums (gingivitis) or breakdown of fibres of the jawbone (periodontitis). It is therefore crucial to brush your teeth properly, preferably with a good electric toothbrush that removes plaque effectively.

Clean your tongue with a tongue cleaner

The white deposits on your tongue are largely responsible for bad breath. The back part of the tongue contains many grooves and bacteria, which contributes to the unpleasant odour. Good oral hygiene, including cleaning the tongue with a tongue cleaner or electric toothbrush, is therefore essential.

Cure bad breath

Good oral hygiene is crucial to prevent bad breath. Checking your teeth regularly by a dentist or dental hygienist and using dental floss or a water flosser are important in this regard. Here are all the tips against bad breath listed below:

  • Clean your mouth after eating. Especially with foods high in protein. Think milkshakes, milk, fish and meat. It is always good to rinse your mouth with a glass of water after a meal.
  • Fancy a glass of wine? Whether the weather is nice and you are sitting on a terrace or you want to enjoy a red wine while eating; it is important to drink a glass of water afterwards. Alcohol causes less saliva to be produced and this is conveniently replenished by drinking water after wine.
  • Drink enough water. Drink enough water (2 – 2.5 litres) every day to prevent dry mouth as much as possible.
  • Try not to drink too much coffee. Experts recommend drinking no more than 3-4 cups a day. Coffee can cause dry mouth and hence halitosis. Read how to get rid of coffee stains on teeth here.
  • Visit the dentist at least twice a year
  • Polish your teeth and gums properly
  • Clean the back of your tongue extra well. You can do this with an electric toothbrush or with a tongue cleaner.

Preventing bad breath

By being consistent in oral hygiene, following a healthy diet, hydrating adequately and paying attention to possible health problems, you can effectively fight bad breath and enjoy a fresh and healthy mouth. To learn more about preventing bad breath or other tips for good oral hygiene, check out our article on good oral care or tips for white teeth.

 

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Related Trusted Sources

  • 1. Imfeld T. Mundgeruch--Ursachen, Differenzialdiagnose und Behandlung [Bad breath--aetiology, differential diagnosis and therapy]. Ther Umsch. 2008 Feb;65(2):83-9. German. doi: 10.1024/0040-5930.65.2.83. PMID: 18517062.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18517062/

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Frequently asked questions

Everything starts with good oral care. This means that it is important to clean your teeth, gums & tongue well.

White deposits on the back of your tongue cause a foul odor in your mouth. This is due to sulfur bacteria on the back of your tongue.

By cleaning your tongue well, this can be done with a tongue cleaner or an electric toothbrush, for example. In addition, it is important to drink enough water.

Saliva protects your mouth from bacteria. If you don't drink enough water or suffer from a dry mouth, you can't make enough saliva. This can cause you to get bad breath.

Complete your routine

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Toothpaste tablets fluoride free mint

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Refill mint with fluoride

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Electric tooth cleaner

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Refill heads sonic toothbrush

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Wireless Water Flosser

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Electric oral care package

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Trusted Source

American Dental Association

The American Dental Association (ADA) is a professional organisation dedicated to promoting oral health and improving the quality of dental care in the United States.

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