Bad Breath

We’ve all had that paranoid moment wondering if your breath smells. Halitosis (bad breath) is even more embarrassing when someone else points it out. But there are a number of things you can do to prevent or treat bad breath that are far better than a pocket full of mints.

Causes of Bad Breath

There are some obvious, and some less obvious, causes of halitosis. By eliminating those related to your daily activities, you can establish whether your bad breath is something you need to discuss with your dentist or doctor.

  • Food: The most obvious culprit, eating smelly foods like garlic or onions is going to hang around on your breath long after the dessert course.
  • Not brushing your teeth: if particles of food are left on and around your teeth and gums, bacteria will collect in the mouth, leading to bad breath. Brushing and flossing your teeth daily will prevent this from happening.
  • Dieting: Ironically, eating too infrequently can also cause bad breath.
  • Dry mouth: If there isn’t enough saliva produced in the mouth, it’s harder to wash food particles away and keep your mouth, teeth and gums fresh. The flow of saliva can be reduced by always breathing through the mouth, salivary gland problems or even some medications.
  • Smoking: Another obvious cause, smoking tobacco irritates gum tissue and reduces your ability to taste food. Smokers are also at a greater risk of gum disease and oral cancer. And if that’s not enough, smoking also stains your teeth. Bad breath is only one of many reasons why you should kick the habit.
  • Gum disease: A bad taste in the mouth or persistent bad breath may also be a warning that you may be developing gum disease. If your halitosis continues, make an appointment with your dentist to make sure something more serious isn’t going on.
  • Medical conditions: There are various diseases that include bad breath as a symptom. Bad breath has been identified as a symptom of diabetes, bronchitis, sinus or lung infections and some liver or kidney diseases.

If the cause of your bad breath isn’t immediately obvious and it continues or worsens, make an appointment with your dentist.


The best way to avoid bad breath or halitosis is to maintain good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing to remove any trapped food particles and keeping your mouth clean and fresh are easily the best ways to avoid your breath attracting the wrong kinds of attention. Brushing your tongue is also beneficial, and many toothbrushes now come with tongue cleaners on the back of the head.

Of course, regular check-ups and professional cleanings are also important to spot the early signs of gum disease or tooth decay that could otherwise lead to bad smelling breath and other problems as well.


Despite what the commercials may tell you, mouthwash is not that useful in combatting bad breath. Like chewing on a mint, the effect is only temporary and only masks the odour without treating the cause. Don’t rely on a mouthwash as a treatment for ongoing halitosis.


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