10 common causes of bad breath

10 common causes of bad breath

Have you ever talked to someone and you notice a cringe on their face? That could be a sign that you have bad breath. Bad mouth odour, which is also known as halitosis, is an embarrassing thing to many adults.

Bad breath is caused by many factors from the foods we eat to how we clean out teeth and our drinking habits but most of the time, one needs to change a few things in their daily routine for them to see a change in their mouth odour. You can consider brushing your teeth twice a day and changing your diet – reduce the amount of sugars you take on a daily to see improvements in your breath.

These are a few causes of bad breath:

Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is the most popular cause of bad breath. When you do not clean your mouth and teeth on a regular, like twice a day with the right amount of toothpaste, food particles tend to remain in your mouth and teeth and form a sticky buildup of bacteria known as plaque. Your tongue and tonsils can also trap food particles and bacteria on the uneven surfaces. This, in turn, produces a foul smell.

Flavoured drinks and spicy food

There are some foods that cause odour such as foods containing a lot of spices, garlic, onions and some vegetables. When consumed, they enter your bloodstream and are carried to your lungs where they eventually affect your breath.


The caffeine that is in coffee leads to one having a dry mouth because it reduces the production of saliva and increases odour causing bacteria. This is due to the intense flavour of coffee.

Drinking alcohol

Excessive drinking of alcohol causes less saliva production resulting to dry mouth which in turn leads to bad odour. The more often you take alcohol, the higher their chances of having bad odour.

Having a lot of sugar

Having meals with too much sugar and an addiction to high levels of sugar and processed sugars also leads to bad mouth odour. When sugar mixes with bacteria that exists in the mouth, the bacteria feeds on the sugar and turns it into a bad smell.

Poor diet

High protein foods are also odour causing since your body has a difficult time digesting protein at times and they end up releasing gases that are sulfurous when metabolism does not take place. A diet that is high in vegetables, fruits and nutrients should be able to prevent occurrences of bad breath.

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Tobacco products cause bad breath. Whether it is cigarettes or pipe, they leave your mouth smelling foul and also damage your gums which eventually leads to gum disease.

Indigestion problems

Bowel disorders, constipation and poor digestion all cause bad odour in your mouth. When you constantly experience acid reflux the odour from the food you have recently consumed easily make way up you oesophagus and come out through the mouth leading to mouth odour.

Poor hydration

When you do not drink enough water and there is no production of saliva which keeps your mouth clean by removing small food particles you will end up having bad breath. When saliva production is reduced, xerostomia, which is dryness of the mouth, happens and eventually a very foul smell will be produced from your mouth when you talk.

Taking strong prescription medication

Some drugs have the side effect of having a dry mouth and bad breath. When you take such medication, you could smell the bad breath almost immediately after. The situation gets worse because dry mouth also causes bad breath. The drugs cause bad breath because of the chemicals released during breakdown that can be carried through your bloodstream.  

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke


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