Understanding Halitosis: Bad Breath and Oral Health

Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, is usually a consequence of poor dental hygiene, wrong eating habits, unhealthy lifestyle and other medical conditions.

Eating Habits and Bad Breath


Generally, all foods start breaking down into smaller pieces in the mouth. As these foods get digested and enter the bloodstream, they eventually reach the lungs and are released in the breath. This is why; eating foods with powerful or unpleasant odors are often regarded as “bad breath” culprits.


If teeth aren’t brushed and flossed on a daily basis, foods stay inside the mouth, which leads to bacterial development between teeth, surrounding gums, as well as on the tongue. This is what causes bad breath. It is important to note that mouth rinses also help in reducing bacterial growth as well, thereby helping in the elimination of bad breath.


In many cases, smoking or consuming tobacco-based foods also leads to the problem of bad breath, development of stains on teeth as well as gum irritation.

Bad Breath and Health

If bad breath lasts long, it may be an indication of gum disease, which is typically caused by plaque buildup. Formation of toxins resulting from bacterial growth eventually leads to gum irritation. If gun disease isn’t treated early, the condition can negatively affect both the jawbone as well as the gums. Halitosis can also result from poor fitting of dental appliances like dentures, oral yeast infections as well as dental caries. Moreover, another medical condition known as dry mouth can also result from bad breath.


It is important to note that patients with respiratory tract infections, sinus infections, diabetes, and liver or kidney problems may also develop persistent bad breath.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to prevent bad breath. Some important steps include:

Oral Hygiene

Brushing the teeth at least two times every day by using fluoride toothpaste helps in removing accumulated food debris as well as plaque. Teeth should be thoroughly brushed between meals, with extra attention given to tongue cleaning as well. Flossing is also an essential element of a proper oral hygiene routine.

Regular Dental Visits

The dentist should be visited at least three to four times in a year. A proper dental examination will help identify and treat periodontal disease or other conditions that may cause bad breath.

Healthy Lifestyle

No doubt, a balanced, healthy diet is important for maintaining oral health. But, limiting the intake of unhealthy, odor-causing foods is equally important. Similarly, smoking and intake of tobacco-based foods should be avoided.

Water Intake

Drinking a great deal of water helps in keeping the mouth moist. Frequent water intake helps in washing away any food particles or debris left in the mouth after meals.

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