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Bad Breath (halitosis) – What causes it and how to beat it

5th November 2021
What causes bad breath
1000 667 GreenTornado

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a prevalent issue. But this is not necessarily a problem you have to live with. Here we look at the causes of bad breath and how it can be treated and prevented.

Bad Breath – Causes


Perhaps the most obvious cause. Smelly and pungent foods, such as garlic, onion and fish, will make your breath smell strong and often unpleasant. Diets that are high in protein, sugar and acidic foods may also cause the problem. The natural bacteria in your mouth thrive off these foods, causing an unpleasant smell. Foods and drinks that cause dehydration are another cause of smelly breath. Coffee, tea and alcohol have this effect. A dehydrated mouth will not have the saliva needed to wash away bacteria, leaving you with bad breath.

It is also worth knowing that some types of crash diets can cause bad breath.

Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene will lead to bacteria accumulating in the mouth. If you do not brush thoroughly with a suitable paste and brush for two minutes twice daily, you may not be cleaning your teeth properly. You should also floss daily. A tongue scraper can clean the tongue, as bacteria can also build up here.


Smoking increases the chances of bad breath. It dries out the mouth, and the nicotine causes a foul odour. Smoking also stains the tongue and weakens your sense of smell. This means a smoker may not even be aware they have bad breath.

Health conditions

Tooth decay and gum disease are common causes of bad breath. These issues should never be ignored. If you have signs of gum disease, contact a dental specialist, such as Blythe Road.

Tonsillitis is also a condition that can cause a foul oral odour.

Prevention and treatment

The best things you can do to prevent and treat bad breath are:

  • Ensure you maintain good oral hygiene – including brushing your tongue and flossing
  • Consult a dental specialist as soon as any gum or tooth issues arise
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Stay hydrated
  • Maintain a healthy and varied diet
  • Avoid crash diets
  • Contact your GP if you have bad breath that is not related to oral issues or medication.

For further information about our dental services, contact Blythe Road on 0207 6025089.