Bad Breath: Do You Have It? You May Not Know You Do

Bad Breath: Do You Have It? You May Not Know You Do

There are many factors that can cause bad breath, or “halitosis” as dental professionals refer to it.  Halitosis is very common, in fact approximately 50 percent of the adult population does have had bad breath or halitosis.1

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath can be caused by external and internal factors. External factors can be the types of foods that we eat such as spicy or odorous in nature (certain spices used in cooking, garlic, onions even tuna or tacos). If you think your bad breath is related to the foods that you are consuming, consider recording the food you are eating to determine if this is the reason. People who use tobacco and alcohol can also experience bad breath.

Internal factors include oral factors that can affect the body systemically.  The majority of halitosis comes from the mouth. The tongue provides a place for bacteria to attach and grow. Most odour-causing bacteria produce compounds that cause bad breath called volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs). Most of these odour-causing bacteria reside in the posterior area of the tongue.2

Other causes of bad breath can include the following:

  1. Dental issues (poor oral hygiene, gum disease)

  2. Dentures (plaque and food can adhere on dentures)

  3. Dry mouth (lack of saliva flow)

  4. Mouth, nose and throat issues (sinus or throat infections )

  5. Systemic diseases (diabetes, lung infections or abscesses, kidney/liver failure, gastrointestinal conditions)

  6. Patients who are dieting on a regular basis

If you are suffering from bad breath, visit your dental professional to help  determine the cause. Remember good oral hygiene is important, brush twice a day with an antibacterial fluoride toothpaste, clean in between your teeth at least once a day  and brush your tongue. 



1.Aylıkcı BU, Colak H. Halitosis: From diagnosis to management. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2013;4(1):14-23. doi:10.4103/0976-9668.107255

2. Salik A, Shaikh A, Gore A, Bhat MYS, Lokhande N, Gupta A. Prevalence of halitosis and its correlation with various intraoral etiological factors: A cross sectional study. Ann. Int. Med. Den. Res. 2016; 2(5):DE20- DE24.