All to Know about Bad Breath

All to Know about Bad Breath

Lots of small signs can show that you have bad breath. Have you noticed people stepping away from you when you start to talk? Do people turn their cheek when you kiss them goodbye?


If you think you might have bad breath, there is a simple test that you can do. Just lick the inside of your wrist and sniff - if the smell is bad, you can be fairly sure that your breath is too.

Or, ask a very good friend to be absolutely honest with you; but do make sure they are a true friend.

Problems Associated With Bad Breath?

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins to form, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries (cavities).

The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.


Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Preventing bad breath 

Treatment for bad breath (halitosis) will depend on its cause.

Usually, the most effective treatment is improving your dental hygiene. As part of your daily routine, you should:

  • floss between your teeth
  • brush your teeth and gums
  • clean your tongue

You may want to consider investing in an electric toothbrush, which can make cleaning easier and more effective. 

Cleaning your teeth

Your dentist will probably recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.

Below are some tips on how to brush your teeth and keep your mouth healthy. You should:

  • use dental floss to clean between your teeth and remove trapped food that could cause tooth decay – brushing on its own only cleans about 60% of the tooth's surface
  • choose a small or medium-sized toothbrush with soft, multi-tufted synthetic bristles
  • replace your toothbrush every three to four months
  • brush your teeth for at least two minutes – you could keep a toothbrush at work or school so you can brush your teeth after lunch
  • brush all areas of your teeth, paying particular attention to where your teeth and gums meet – your dentist or oral hygienist may recommend using a special single-tufted brush for specific problem areas of your mouth
  • use a separate toothbrush or a tongue scraper to lightly brush your tongue – some toothbrushes have a tongue cleaner on the back of the brush head
  • avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after drinking an acidic drink, such as fruit juice, or eating acidic fruit, such as oranges, to help prevent tooth abrasion

Your dentist may recommend that you rinse your mouth daily using an antibacterial or anti-odor mouthwash. This shouldn't replace brushing, but can be included as part of your daily routine.

Cleaning dentures

If you wear dentures, you should take them out at night to give your mouth a chance to rest. Clean your dentures thoroughly before putting them in the next morning:

  • don't use toothpaste to clean your dentures as it can scratch the surface and cause stains
  • clean your dentures thoroughly using soap and lukewarm water, denture cream, or a denture-cleaning tablet
  • use a separate toothbrush to clean your dentures

Your dentures should stay clean and fresh if you follow this routine. It will also help prevent the build-up of plaque, which can cause bad breath.

Fresh breath tips

To help keep your breath fresh, you should:

  • give up smoking
  • eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid eating strongly flavored or spicy food
  • cut down on sugary food and drink as it can increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth
  • reduce your alcohol consumption 
  • cut down on coffee
  • drink plenty of water to help prevent your mouth becoming dry
  • chew sugar-free gum after eating to stimulate the flow of saliva – this will help clean away any remaining food particles

You should visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Having regular dental check-ups will ensure any plaque and calculus – previously known as tartar – is removed from your teeth, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach.

Your dentist can recommend the best way to clean your teeth and gums, and point out areas you might be missing. They can also identify any signs of gum disease and ensure early treatment.

Gastrointestinal problems

Bad breath can be caused by a gastrointestinal problem, such as an H. pylori infection or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). You may be referred to a gastroenterologist.

The treatment recommended will depend on the type of gastrointestinal condition you have. For example, if you have a stomach ulcer, you may need a combination of two or three different antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). This is known as eradication therapy.


Chronic Halitosis

Chronic halitosis is a common problem. More than 50 million people suffer from chronic halitosis in the United States alone. Some people find that common halitosis remedies like mouthwashes and breath mints are enough to mask their chronic halitosis. But for others, who want to address the causes of halitosis and find a halitosis cure, these drugstore halitosis treatments simply fall short.


Leading Halitosis Causes

90% of people with chronic halitosis suffer from excessive build up of certain halitosis causing bacteria on the back of the tongue. People with chronic halitosis have large amounts of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) produced from the breakdown of proteins by bacteria in the mouth. As one of the leading halitosis causes, these VSCs are responsible for the offensive breath odors that define halitosis.

Diagnosing Chronic Halitosis

Not all sufferers of chronic halitosis are aware of their condition. Though awkward, one of the best ways to tell if you have halitosis is to ask a friend. Dentists are generally poorly informed about halitosis causes and halitosis treatment; however some dental offices now have equipment that can detect VSC levels in the breath.

Common Halitosis Treatment Options

Since chronic halitosis causes severe repercussions, suffers are anxious to find a halitosis cure. Halitosis treatment products have spurred a billion-dollar industry, but the most popular means of combating chronic halitosis – tooth brushes and mouthwash – do not solve the problem. Toothbrushes can’t reach the back of the tongue where the bacterial causes of halitosis reside; so although brushing plays an important role in oral hygiene, it is not a halitosis cure. Since mouthwashes only temporarily mask and do not eliminate the odor-causing bacteria, they too are not an effective chronic halitosis treatment.

Tongue scraping, together with proper oral hygiene is the most effective “common” treatment against the causes of halitosis. Yet, the underlying halitosis causes remain: VSCs that rebuild, continuing the cycle of chronic halitosis.

Finally a Halitosis Cure

In 1992, Dr. Jon L. Richter founded the first U.S. clinic dedicated to finding a halitosis cure. In a clinical trial study, he discovered that a safe germicide called chlorine dioxide was highly effective in removing the leading halitosis causes (mainly VSCs). Remarkably, he found a halitosis cure! More than 99% of the 600 patients undergoing halitosis treatment found that using the chlorine dioxide rinse after tongue cleaning eliminated their chronic halitosis.

Dr. Richter has administered his halitosis treatment to over 6,000 patients with equal success. His revolutionary halitosis treatment attacks chronic halitosis by:

  • Killing the bacterial causes of halitosis
  • Destroying the VSCs before they produce the malodors that define halitosis
  • Reducing proteins that allow odor-causing bacteria to ferment

The ProFresh Breath Care System: Your Halitosis Cure

Dr. Richter’s halitosis cure is now available for use in your home. The ProFresh Breath Care System includes everything you need. By following this easy 2-minute halitosis treatment plan twice daily, you too can experience the benefits of ProFresh – the halitosis cure.

12 Easy Ways to Prevent Bad Breath


Please remember, preventing halitosis is always easier than treating it. By developing the right habits, you can effectively help prevent it.

  • Eat foods rich in fiber: High fiber foods help prevent halitosis. Avoid eating heavily processed foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as cookies, cakes, sweets and ice cream.
  • Use mouthwash: Some mouthwashes or oral rinses are effective at preventing bad breath. However, you should never use alcohol based mouthwashes because the alcohol makes the mouth very dry, which will actually make the problem worse.
  • Drink green and black teas: They contain polyphenols that help eliminate sulfur compounds and reduce oral bacteria.
  • Avoid drying medication: Try not to take antidepressants, diuretics, pain relievers, and antihistamines unless it is absolutely medically necessary. These drugs inhibit saliva flow and can cause chronic dry mouth.
  • Avoid products with sodium lauryl sulfate or alcohol: Do not use any oral hygiene products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate or alcohol because the alcohol makes the mouth very dry, one of the most common causes of bad breath.
  • Clean your mouth after eating meat, fish or dairy products: Practicing consistent and thorough oral hygiene is an effective prevention tool.
  • Stop smoking: Studies have shown that smokers are at higher risk of developing periodontal disease and dry mouth. Furthermore, people who smoke may also engage in other habits that promote this condition such as dieting, drinking alcohol, and suffering from chronic anxiety conditions that require exacerbating prescription medications.
  • Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth: Try to address any snoring or sleep apnea issues that could be affecting your breath and causing dry mouth.
  • Drink water: Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water.
  • Clean your dentures at least once a day: Practice the same, proper oral care that you would with your original teeth.
  • Eliminate dairy products from your diet: Lactose intolerance can be an underlying cause of halitosis.
  • Use an oral probiotic like S. salivarius K12 and M18: Use probiotics to balance the oral cavity and prevent an overgrowth of the odor-causing bacteria involved in halitosis.


Therabreath, profresh, nhs.uk, dentalhealth.org, webmd


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