What causes bad breathe?

Bad breathe or halitosis is mainly caused by dry mouth. Drying of the mouth (production of less saliva) may be due to mouth breathing while sleeping, medicines or health ailments. When the saliva secretion is reduced, the odor-producing bacteria gather inside the mouth and the tongue. They live, grow and multiply using the left- over food particles from the mouth. In the process, they release a sulfur compound and this result in a bad breathe.

Bad breathe causes can be classified into three different groups depending on the factors-

1.       Bad breathe caused by the factors affecting the mouth.

  • Deep dental cavity or tooth decay
  • Several gum diseases and infections
  • Accumulation of the food particles in between the teeth
  • Due to dry mouth
  • Due to respiratory tract infection like tonsillitis, bronchitis, throat infections
  • Because of the catarrh

2.       Bad breathe caused by the factors affecting the airways or passages.

  • Acute or chronic sinusitis
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Pneumonia

3.       Bad breathe caused by the factors affecting the stomach.

  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Accumulation of the food

The real and the major cause of bad breathe is oral. Bad breathe can affect the a person’s lifestyle and personality.

Oral hygiene:

This is main cause of bad breathe. A poor oral habits can render odorous breathe. Bacteria grow and multiply inside the mouth and can produce plagues. Therefore, oral hygiene is very important. Brushing the teeth every twice a day morning and at night should be practiced. Residues of food particles can act as a resource for the bacteria to grow. They break down the food particles and this causes smelly unpleasant smell.

Always make sure that you not only brush your teeth but also brush your tongue. Make a habit of flossing and rinsing your mouth after meals.  Also when the dentures are not cleaned properly the food particles tend to stick on them. This can cause bad breathe.

Second major cause of bad breathe is your food and drinks-

There are certain foods such as onions, garlic, hot, spiced foods and peppers which causes bad breathe. Foods rich in proteins, carbohydrates, fats can have a bad effect on your breathe too. Beverages such as coffee, alcohols dry up the mouth and increases bacteria in the mouth. This can causes bad breathe again.


Person on certain medicines usually has a chronic bad breathe. Some medicine causes drying of the mouth.  Some medicines associated with bad breathe include- diuretics, aspirins, nitrates, tranquilisers etc.

Unhealthy lifestyles:

Smoking makes the teeth lose its color and makes the gums sensitive to the plagues. Heavy smokers usually have a bad breathe because of the drying up of the mouth, hence less saliva.

Dry mouth and medical problems:

One of the biggest cause of bad breathe in a person is dry mouth. Almost all of the causes are related to dry mouth. Anything that causes dry mouth can result in a bad breathe. Dry mouth is a kind of medical condition called as xerostomia. Drying up of the mouth can be due to several other reasons like diseases, medicines, foods, sleeping etc. production of less saliva can harbor bacteria in the mouth and the tongue. These results in the bad breathe.

Related posts:

  1. The Main Causes of Bad Breath
  2. How to get rid of bad breath?

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