Halitosis disease (bad breath): Causes and Treatment

Do you find yourself feeling hesitant or embarrassed while speaking around people, because you’re worried about your bad breath? Well, you aren’t alone – around 30% of the population suffers from bad breath, a condition medically known as Halitosis disease. In fact, it’s the third most common reason why patients seek dental care, with tooth decay and gum disease taking the two top spots. 

Besides being sometimes a sign of poor oral hygiene, Halitosis can also result in significant psychological stress. The good news, however, is that it’s not hard to treat with proper professional expertise. An experienced dentist can help you get rid of your bad breath rather quickly, while also treating any other underlying issues. 

What causes Halitosis disease?

Individuals may develop bad breath due to a number of reasons, which are mostly linked to their lifestyle and oral hygiene routine. 

The most common causes of Halitosis disease include:

1. Consuming certain foods and beverages

Here’s a common misconception about foods causing bad breath – it’s not just about any residues or odor that the food leaves back in your mouth. When you consume onion, garlic, or other foods with strong odors, the oil contained within them is absorbed by your stomach during digestion. The oil then enters your bloodstream and reaches your lungs, fouling your breath. Drinking certain beverages such as alcohol and coffee can have the same result. The effect remains until the odor-causing substance leaves your body, which can take up to 72 hours. 

2. Insufficient oral care

Poor oral hygiene practices are among the leading causes of Halitosis disease. Unless you brush and floss your teeth regularly and correctly, your teeth will have food particles trapped in between them. These food particles become a breeding ground for bacteria. This, together with the fact that the food is decaying, can result in an unpleasant odor and taste.  

3. Periodontitis

Commonly known as gum disease, Periodontitis is a serious infection of the gum caused by bacteria accumulating on the teeth and gums. Not cleaning your teeth properly leads to the buildup of plaque, which then hardens into tartar. The tartar then opens up small pockets between the gums and the teeth, allowing food, bacteria, and more plaque to build up and result in bad breath. 

4. The use of tobacco products

Tobacco products such as cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, etc. are known to put your body at the risk of various diseases. However, bad breath too is one of the many effects of using these products. Other effects on oral and dental health include a loss in the ability to taste, irritated gums, oral cancer, and periodontal disease. 

5. Dry mouth

Your saliva plays a key role in cleaning your mouth and removing food particles and debris. A significant insufficiency in saliva production can leave your mouth dry and unable to cleanse itself – a condition known as Xerostomia. It can be caused by a number of factors, including certain medications, a salivary gland disorder, sleeping with your mouth open, and breathing with your mouth instead of your nose most of the time. With your mouth’s failing to clean itself, it is very easy for your breath to get foul.   

How to get rid of bad breath?

The treatment process for Halitosis disease depends on the cause behind your bad breath. A professional would recommend the ideal path of action upon a proper diagnosis, but common solutions include:

1. Following a better oral care routine

In case you have developed bad breath due to poor oral healthcare habits, changing them as per your dentist’s recommendations should help. The dentist will likely carry out a dental cleaning to remove any existing buildup of food particles and bacteria. Taking up a healthier dental care routine should prevent further buildups. Regardless of the exact cause behind your bad breath, dentists would likely prescribe a specific oral healthcare routine since they all stem from poor oral hygiene. 

2. Plaque removal

Brushing your teeth helps remove and prevent the buildup of plaque, but it might not be enough for extensive plaque buildup. In such situations, experts may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Your dentist may also advise you to brush your tongue in addition to your teeth to get rid of odor-causing bacteria. 

3. Periodontitis treatment

Getting rid of bad breath caused by periodontal disease requires the treatment of the underlying condition first. The treatment methods may vary depending on the stage and extensiveness of the periodontitis, but usually include a periodontal cleaning to remove the bacteria and tartar. 

4. Treating underlying health conditions

Similarly, any underlying health conditions resulting in Halitosis disease will have to be treated first to get rid of the bad breath. If your eating and drinking habits are at the root of it all, you should consider changing them. 


At Centre Dentaire Olympique, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible dental care. Not only are our professionals highly trained and experienced, but they also treat every patient with due care. This, together with our top-notch infrastructure, makes us your best choice. Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment and get your bad breath treated.