Banishing Bad Breath

Exploring the causes of bad breath and effective prevention methods

Intan Nobury


May 25, 23

3 min read

Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash

Bad breath (also known as Halitosis), can be uncomfortable and embarrassing in social situations. No matter who you are or what your circumstance is, I think it's safe to say we’ve all experienced this at some stage in our life. I remember as a teenager, I’d wake up with the most horrendous morning breath and drool that I would weep at how bad it was! Oh first-world problems! Knowing the underlying causes of poor breath and implementing good oral hygiene habits can help you keep your breath fresh to avoid those awkward moments when someone’s offers you a mint. 

Factors that can cause bad breath

When it comes to halitosis, there are couple of factors to take notice of.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Inadequate oral hygiene is one of the main causes of unpleasant breath. The buildup of bacteria and food particles in the mouth can result in the creation of compounds that result in an unfavorable odor. Plaque, germs, and food particles can be removed successfully with twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and, if you wish, the use of mouthwash, which lowers the risk of bad breath lingering. We would recommend against brushing more than twice daily as you can wear out your enamel in doing so. Make a habit of rinsing your mouth with water after every meal. 

Gum Disease

Untreated or undiagnosed gum conditions like gingivitis or periodontitis can make your breath smell for a longer duration of time. Even after brushing, the bacterial gum infection generates odors that often tends to linger. Gum disease and its corresponding bad breath can be prevented and managed with regular dental checkups, professional cleanings, and routine oral care.

Tongue Coating

Dead cells, food particles, residue and germs on the tongue's surface can form a coating that emits an unpleasant odour. This buildup can be removed and the bacteria that cause foul breath reduced by properly cleansing your tongue with a tongue scraper or by brushing it as part of your daily routine.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is essential for maintaining dental health as it balances acidity and washes away some bacteria and food particles. A dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be caused by a number of things, such as specific medications, illness, or mouth breathing. Bacteria can grow more easily when saliva flow is reduced, which can lead to bad breath. Combating this problem involves staying hydrated, being aware, practicing nose breathing and focusing on prevention.


Certain foods and drinks often lingers in the mouth after consumption. The known offenders are garlic, onions, spices, and foods with strong flavours. While completely avoiding these items may be difficult, maintaining proper oral hygiene, using mouthwash, or eating sugar-free gum can temporarily mask these odours.

Alcohol and tobacco 

These substances are not only known to discolour teeth, they also increase the risk of gum disease, and considerably worsen bad breath. Similarly, drinking alcohol can cause the mouth to become dry and odorous. Drinking less alcohol and giving up smoking can help not only your breath smell fresher but improve your overall health in the long run. 


Bad breath can occasionally also be a sign of underlying medical conditions. It is advisable to speak with your doctor to rule out any potential medical explanations if you have persistent foul breath despite maintaining good oral hygiene both at home and professionally. 

Written By

Intan Nobury

An appreciator of art, novels and high intensity sports. With a passion for work and a dangerous addiction to tea.