What are the causes of bad breath and how to treat halitosis?


Halitosis is a common issue most people face. No one is immune to bad breath, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer and simply live with mouth odour. There are ways to get rid of bad breath, you just have to know the bad breath causes to find the solutions.

What causes bad breath?


When you look at your oral health, it can be easy to assume that the foods you eat and the beverages you drink are to blame for halitosis or bad breath. This is true to a certain extent, but a staggering 80% of bad breath comes from bacteria living inside your mouth.

Another big culprit of bad breath is smoking. Tobacco causes an unpleasant mouth odour, and smokers are also more likely to have gum disease, which contributes to bad breath as well. (Not to mention, smoking can cause tooth discolouration.)


The final problem a lot of people face when dealing with bad breath is something that can be hard to control: a dry mouth. Our saliva performs a lot of duties, and one of those is the cleanse the mouth and remove particles that contribute to bad breath. Throughout the day you can combat this by staying hydrated, but we often wake up with dry mouths in the morning (hence the unpleasant morning breath).


Other factors like certain medications, gum infections, diseases, and health issues will contribute to unpleasant mouth odour.

How to get rid of bad breath?


Brush your teeth


First and foremost, brushing your teeth is always helpful. Not only will regular brushing keep your teeth healthy and looking good, it will help to remove some of that nasty, smelly bacteria. In addition to removing surface smells, proper oral care can prevent more serious issues like gingivitis and gum disease, which would only worsen bad breath.

Woman brushing teeth

Care for your whole mouth


Brushing isn’t all you can do, though. Flossing will help promote healthier gums and further prevent gum disease. Flossing can also remove smaller food elements that you may have missed when brushing and that may cause bad breath. A tool like the Philips Sonicare Cordless Power Flosser could help you clean in-between your teeth and keep your mouth clean and healthy.

If you find that an odour remains and you’re not sure what causes bad breath even after brushing, it could be your tongue.

Your tongue itself doesn’t smell bad, of course, but it is one of the most popular homes for a lot of odour-causing bacteria. Cleaning your tongue every day is an effective way to get rid of those bacteria and the gases they produce. 
A specialized tongue brush like the Philips Sonicare Tonguecare+ that comes with the Diamond Clean 9000 is the most effective way to address tongue cleaning.


Tongue brush head

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Cut down on coffee


Most bad breath can’t be traced to your food and beverages, but some of it can. Coffee is notorious for leaving people with bad breath, so consider swapping coffee for tea when you can. Green tea can even fight some of the bacteria in your mouth to combat bad breath while enjoying your morning caffeine hit. 


Consider less odorous foods


Just like coffee breath, most of us are familiar with garlic and onion breath. These don’t necessarily contribute to the bacteria living in your mouth, but their smells can linger long after you finish your meal. These foods are absorbed into your bloodstream to continue affecting your breath.


Drink more water

A dry mouth is a major factor in bad breath, so the best way to address that issue is by hydrating your body. If you’re still drinking coffee, that could make your mouth drier, so make sure you regularly rehydrate.

Drinking water

How to cure bad breath permanently?


Unfortunately, there’s no one thing you can do to eliminate bad breath forever. Good oral hygiene is a journey and brushing your teeth, flossing between, and cleaning your tongue every day is the best way to eliminate any odour-causing bacteria from making your mouth their home. 

Add in better eating and drinking habits, and you should notice a difference in your breath.

If you don’t, you can contact your dentist to check if you have any issues (such as cavities) that could contribute to halitosis.

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