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Bad breath, medically known as halitosis, is when an unpleasant smell comes from the mouth and teeth. It can cause embarrassment or anxiety causing one to feel the need to continually use mints, gum, or mouthwash in an attempt to fight it. These, however, are only temporary fixes since they don’t deal with the root cause of the problem.

It mostly results from poor dental hygiene, the food you ate, or underlying medical problems. You can improve bad breath with better oral hygiene and diet changes. If that doesn’t work, you should visit a dentist to ensure a medical problem is not causing it.


It might be challenging to assess how your breath smells, but other people usually notice the unpleasant smell. You could ask someone close to you to confirm it. In adding to an unpleasant odor, you might experience the following;

  • A bad taste that does not go away even after brushing
  • Your mouth feels dry
  • Your tongue feels like it has a coating on it.


There are several reasons why you have bad breath.

  1. Poor oral hygiene.

Food particles remain in your tongue and teeth if you do not brush and floss your teeth daily. Plaque is a sticky and colorless coating of bacteria that forms on your teeth. It causes irritation, periodontitis, cavities, and a bad smell.

Your tongue can harbor bacteria if food particles are trapped on it and cause a foul odor. Ill-fitting and unclean dentures can also trap food particles that cause bacteria to grow.

  1. Dry mouth

Saliva not only helps to make eating easier but cleanses your mouth to remove food particles too. Decrease saliva production or dry mouth naturally happens when you sleep and is worse if you sleep with your mouth open. It causes ‘morning breath.’

If you have chronic dry mouth, you should visit a doctor as it could be due to a disease or a problem with your salivary glands.

  1. Food

Our teeth break down food, and food particles can get trapped between the teeth or on the tongue. These food particles cause bacteria to build up and cause a bad smell.

Foods such as garlic, onions, and spices leave behind an unpleasant smell. They enter the bloodstream after digestion and give your breath an unpleasant odor from your lungs.

  1. Tobacco

Tobacco products such as cigarettes cause foul-smelling breath. Smoking or using oral tobacco products causes gum disease, a source of bad breath.

  1. Mouth infections

If you have an infection in your mouth, you are more likely to have bad breath. Tooth decay, mouth sores, gum disease, or infected wounds will give off a foul odor.

  1. Nose and throat infections

Tonsil infections cause tonsil stones covered in odor-producing bacteria. Sinus and throat infections can also lead to bad breath.

  1. Other diseases

Other conditions such as cancers, digestive disorders, and chronic acid reflux are associated with bad breath.

  1. Medicines

Some medications such as those used to treat allergies and diuretics have a side effect of causing dry mouth, contributing to bad breath.


There are some ways to mask or eliminate bad breath.

  • Brush and floss your teeth and tongue at least twice a day to prevent food particles buildup.
  • Use a mouthwash will help with oral hygiene and mask bad breath.
  • Chew sugarless gums and mints.


You should seek professional help if good oral hygiene does not help or bad breath is accompanied by the following;

  1. You have chronic dry mouth
  2. Mouth sores
  3. Pain chewing or swallowing
  4. White spots on tonsils, fever or fatigue