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causes of bad breath

All about Chronic Bad Breath

By : on : 15th April 2019 comments:(0)

Did you know that chronic bad breath can decrease the overall quality of your life? Also known as halitosis, chronic bad breath can be a nightmare. It can be embarrassing and, in most cases, keeps the individual from enjoying a hearty laugh. For some people, it can also be a cause for their social anxiety!

No wonder, it is so common to find shelf after shelf filled with mouthwashes and other oral hygiene products in almost every supermarket! However, it is important to understand that while using these products to fight bad breath is one way, it is definitely not a permanent solution. If you experience bad breath, you may have noticed that no matter what products you use, it just keeps coming back. It can be very frustrating and even disheartening.

The reason behind the reoccurring bad breath despite using oral hygiene products is that most of these products are not designed to fight the root cause of bad breath. If you want to get rid of it for good, first of all, you need to figure out what’s causing it in the first place. While the best approach is to make an appointment with your dentist to help you cure bad breath, it never hurts to have a little knowledge on your hands. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of bad breath.

Causes of Bad Breath

According to a survey, around 50 million suffer from bad breath in the US alone. It can be caused by a number of things. Studies suggest that 5% – 10% of cases of bad breath stem from non-dental diseases. In other words, bad breath can be a warning sign of some underlying, and potentially dangerous, disease. This makes it even more important to figure out the root cause of chronic halitosis and work to eliminate it.


Every time you enjoy a mouthwatering meal, food particles stay around in the mouth for a long time. These particles not only cause foul odor, they also encourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth. You may be surprised to find out that around 90% of bad breath comes from the broken down food particles, especially proteins, in your mouth.

However, this is not the only way in which the food you consume affects your breath. The kind of food you eat can also make a difference. It is important to realize that certain foods like garlic, onion, and spices can also be the culprit. Once digested, the compounds present in these foods enter the bloodstream and is carried to your lungs. This could affect the odor of your breath.

Poor Dental Hygiene

This is an obvious one! If you are not keen on keeping your teeth clean and skip flossing on a regular basis, the build up of plaque is highly likely. Think of plaque as the sticky film of bacteria that can develop around the teeth due to poor dental hygiene and is one of the biggest causes of bad breath. It can also irritate the gums and damage the teeth.

Failing to clean the tongue is another poor hygiene habit that can cause the foul odor. This happens because your tongue can also trap odor inducing bacteria. Similarly, dirty dentures also serve as a hub for these bacteria.


Do you know that dry mouth is what causes “morning breath”? Well, the reason is that saliva helps get rid of bacteria from the mouth. This means, if your mouth is unusually dry, you are likely to experience bad breath. Xerostomia is a condition that reduces the saliva production in your mouth, which, in turn, causes bad breath. Xerostomia can occur for a number of reasons. If you think this is the problem, it is advisable to see a dentist.


While tobacco products have their own distinct odor, they can contribute to bad breath in a number of ways. For example, frequent use of these products can cause gum diseases which can lead to bad breath.

Non-Dental Health Issues

As discussed earlier, it is entirely possible that the root cause of chronic bad breath may not be related to dental or oral problems at all. In other words, any physical diseases or illnesses can contribute towards bad breath. Here’s a list of some non-dental health issues that can result in halitosis.

  • Nose inflammation
  • Sinus
  • Tonsillitis or tonsil stones
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Particular types of cancer


Note that certain medicines can encourage bad breath. Generally, medicines used to treat the following conditions are common culprits.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nasal congestion
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Allergies
  • Epilepsy
  • Acne

How to Prevent Bad Breath

If you are wondering how you can get rid of or prevent bad breath, here are a few tips that you can follow:

  • Make sure you practice proper dental hygiene. Brush your teeth regularly make sure you don’t forget to floss.
  • Stay hydrated. Try to keep your mouth moist at all times. Also, avoid drinks, like coffee, that can cause mouth dryness.
  • Don’t forget to clean your tongue! For best results, use a tongue scraper.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle and make dietary changes. Try to avoid foods like garlic and onions. Also, keep in mind that high sugar intake can also lead to bad breath.
  • Get yourself a good quality mouthwash, preferably one that has zinc.
  • Give this home remedy a try – Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to prevent the formation of bacteria.

If nothing works, it is advisable to book an appointment with your dentist or hygienist. They will not only help you figure out the cause of bad breath but will also help you get rid of it. Remember, chronic bad breath is a condition that is experienced by people all around the world. If you are experiencing it, make sure that you don’t let it affect the quality of your life. It’s time you enjoy hearty conversations and laugh without ever having to worry about bad breath!



Dr Hassan El Awour


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