Mouth Odour (Bad Breath) – Causes, Prevention & Treatment

mouth odour

Mouth odour which is medically termed halitosis is very common in people. It occurs in about one out of every four people (25%), and this is an alarming statistic.

Irrespective of how common mouth odour might be, its remedies are quite easy. This article considers the causes, symptoms and how to get rid of mouth odour

What is Mouth Odour?

Halitosis is an embarrassing problem common in our society. Mouth odour or bad breath has an adverse physiological effect on the individual as it might lead to depression, anxiety and withdrawal especially in severe cases.

It is common that you would have been avoiding people or even close friends with bad breath. This may not be ideal especially if you have not informed them of their condition.

Now, let me ask you a question

How many times have you confronted someone with bad breath and tell them about it?

I am sure a lot of people have not done that, even with close friends.

The funny thing is that it might just be same with your case, as they will refuse to confront you if you have bad breath. This is because people feel it is embarrassing to mention it to someone about their mouth odour.

Let us gently inform your loved ones of their need to treat bad breath

What Causes Mouth Odour

There are many causes of mouth odour and we are going to highlight some of them.

Unhygienic Habit/Improper Dental Hygiene

This is the major cause of mouth odour, as most people fail to clean properly their mouth. Plaque (film of bacteria) can build up in teeth if brushing is not regular or thoroughly done. Plaques can affect the gums and lead to halitosis

In addition, people lack the habit of visiting the dentist for a regular checkup.

Presence of Bacteria in The Mouth

Bacteria are naturally present at the mouth as they help to break down food particles. Their activities can result in halitosis depending on the kind of food. These bacteria might also infect the gum and result in bad breath.

Gum and Tongue Diseases

Developing gum and tongue diseases often result in mouth odour. This might be as a result of bacteria in the mouth or poor dental hygiene.

Smoking and Drinking Habit

Smoking and drinking are another main cause of bad breath and I guess you would have noticed peculiar bad breath from people that smoke and drink a lot. Tobacco products increases the chances of gum disease which is also a cause of mouth odour.

Medications May Cause Bad Breath

There are certain medications that release chemicals in breath while some other medication causes dryness in the mouth. This will lead to mouth odour as saliva in the mouth help in reducing mouth odour. It will also give the bacteria in the mouth more reacting power. One of the reasons why sick people tends to have bad breath even when they brush daily.

Dryness of The Mouth

Mouth dryness may not be caused only by medication. Dryness in the mouth may also result from dehydration or might almost be natural for some people. The medical condition for dry mouth is called xerostomia

Foreign Bodies

Occurs more in children than adult. Bad breath may occur as result of foreign body retained in their nasal cavity.

Certain Diseases Can Cause Halitosis

Some diseases might result in bad breath because of their ability to dehydrate the body. Such diseases include cancer, liver failure, kidney-related infections, metabolic disorders and blood diseases. Medications prescribed to remedy this conditions may also cause halitosis.

Some Food Might Cause Bad Breath

You can develop bad breath from eating flavored food like garlic and onion. Brushing and flossing even after eating them merely covers up the odour temporarily. The odor will disappear completely only when the foods have passed through your body

Crash diet for weight loss such as low carbohydrates and fasting are capable of causing bad breath because they produces ketones.

How to Know You Have Bad Breath

Mouth odour is not easily detected by oneself. Those around you might have noticed, but may not be able to tell you so as not to hurt your feelings

You can always ask a close friend or relative to give you a honest opinion of your breath condition

Another way of knowing is to lick your wrist, leave it to dry and then smell it. If it smells bad, its a strong indication you have bad breath

Further to that, there is a clinical instrument used by the dentist to determine bad breath. It is called the Halimeter, which measures the concentration of hydrogen sulphide in parts per billion PPB in mouth air.

How to Prevent and Treat Mouth Odour

Once you determine you have mouth odour, you will have to follow the dentist prescription and advice.

However, below are some tips that can help prevent and get rid of mouth odour.

Proper Dental Hygiene

The best way to prevent and cure halitosis is to take proper care of your mouth. Here are some things to do for proper dental hygiene.

  • Ensure you brush and wash your mouth when you wake up and before you go to sleep.
  • Wash your tongue properly and concentrate on bottom of the tongue.
  • Use antibacterial mouth rinses
  • If you wear dentures, remove and clean at night to avoid bacteria build up.
  • Change your brush every two to three months
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Go for regular dental check ups and cleaning

Using of Recommended Oral Products

When the dentist detects that you have mouth odour, they will prescribe some oral product for you to use. They usually prescribe oxygenated products as this will fight the bacteria, reducing activities of bacteria in the mouth.

Stimulate Saliva Flow

Dry mouth can result in bad breath; ensure to stimulate saliva flow in your mouth by chewing gum or mints. This will makes your mouth fresh and smell nice.

Eat Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruit add more nutrients to the body. They help in building strong teeth and prevent infections such as those of the gums. Vegetables and fruits also reduce the activities of bacteria in the mouth and thus prevent and cure mouth odour.

Load up on Supplements

Adding supplements to your diet will not only improve your general health but also fight mouth odour. Vitamin C, D, E and F are good supplement that you should take to prevent and cure mouth odour. They are usually recommended by dentist for such cases as bad breath.

Quit Smoking and Drinking.

Smoking and drinking habit is a major cause of bad breath and the only way to prevent mouth odour in such case is to quit smoking and drinking totally.

Clean Mouth Properly After Meal

You should ensure you clean your mouth properly after meal; this will help in removing food particles that get stuck in the mouth. It will also help in clearing the smell of the food from your mouth.

Avoid Self Medication

A good number of medication usually causes dryness in the mouth which later results in mouth odour. You should avoid any kind of self-medication and only take prescribed drugs.


Mouth odour are always unpleasant. The fact is that we have all had mouth odour at one time or the other if not permanent. You can prevent chronic mouth odour through proper dental hygiene. If you are not sure about having bad breath, ask for your friend’s honest opinion or visit the dentist for checkup.

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