Top 8 most common bad or smelly breath (halitosis) causes and their treatment

Mouth odor is very common. Find out the mouth smell causes and natural treatment also know about the tonsil stones smell.

Posted by Rukhma Khalid on April 05 , 2023

Halitosis or bad breath:

Halitosis is an unpleasant or offensive order emanating from the oral cavity. Bad breath odor can be a temporary problem or it can be a chronic condition. According to the American Dental Association, at least 50 percent of adults have halitosis in their lifetime.

The common causes of bad breath (halitosis):

1. Morning breath:

Halitosis is most commonly note upon waking up from sleep in the morning. This is usually caused by:

  • Low salivary flow
  • Lack of oral hygiene
  • Breathing through the mouth

For most individuals, the odor has no special significance as it can resolve with brushing, flossing, eating, and drinking water. If it still does not resolve it may indicate an infection in the month that can be carries or periodontal problems or other factors such as gross Dental neglect or smoking or dry mouth condition.

2. Poor dental hygiene:

The second is poor dental hygiene. The most likely cause of the oral odor is the accumulation of food debris and dental plaque on the teeth and tongue. It results from poor oral hygiene and resultant gingivitis. That causes inflammation in the gums. In this, the bacteria break down food particles that are trapped in the mouth. The combination of these bacteria and the decaying food in the mouth produces an unpleasant Odor.

Bad breath can also be a problem if it was dangerous and a person does not clean them every night. To prevent accumulation of food on teeth and tongue do remember to use mouthwash with plain water after each meal. Someone also prevents plaque and calculus buildup by brushing and flossing regularly. And if someone still has plaque and calculus buildup on his teeth then he may visit a dentist or a dental hygienist to get his teeth clean by a procedure which is known as scaling.

3. Sinusitis:

Third is sinusitis. Bad breath odor can develop if someone has a sinus infection or a post-nasal drainage. So treating the underlying condition which is sinusitis can help to treat the bad breath.

4. Tonsillitis:

Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils. So tonsillitis and even tonsil stones which tend to collect bacteria can also be a source of bad breath. Treating tonsillitis with appropriate medication and the removal of tonsil stones can also help to treat bad breath.

5. Dry mouth:

Dry mouth can occur if someone doesn't produce enough saliva. Saliva helps to keep the mouth clean and moist and it reduces odor. Dry mouth can be a problem if someone has a salivary gland condition sleep with their mouth open or someone takes certain medications. Medications including those that are used to treat high blood pressure and urinary conditions. So make sure that drink sufficient water throughout the day. Chewing or consuming acidic food also helps improve this salivary flow. Sometimes a person may need salivary substitutes especially if his body is not producing enough saliva.


6. Smoking:

Smoking cigarettes or cigars causes a bad odor and it dries out the mouth which can make breath odor even worse.

7. Food and beverages:

When a person eats onions, garlic, or other food with strong odor the stomach absorbs oils from this food during digestion and this oil passes into the bloodstream and travels to the lungs. This produces an odor that others can notice in breath for up to 72 hours. Drinking beverages with strong odors such as coffee can also contribute to bad breath.

8. Halitosis of the respiratory tract:

Upper respiratory tract reasons which can cause halitosis include chronic sinusitis nasal obstruction, nasopharyngeal abscess, and carcinoma of the larynx. The lower acidity tract infections or conditions that can lead to halitosis include bronchitis, bronchiectasis, pneumonia pulmonary abscess, and carcinoma of the lung.

Halitosis can also be cause due to certain systemic conditions such as acute febrile illness, helicobacter pylori infection, hepatic failure, renal failure, leukemia, and hypermethioninaemia. Halitosis can also be blood bonds which include certain diseases like liver, kidney diseases, diabetes, and fish odor syndrome. It can be due to medication like disulfiram and cysteamine. And also be due to food such as garlic and onion.

What is the common treatment for halitosis (bad breath)?

1. First masking products:

Use products such as mints toothpaste, mouth rinses, sprays, and chewing gums to control halitosis. But remember that the usage of masking products only is never real management of halitosis. Also, the effect of masking agents is short-lived.

2. Mechanical reduction of microorganisms and their substrates:

The things that may help to clean the microorganisms and their substrates include first a solid breakfast. The passage of solid food over the surface of the tongue can help to remove the tongue coating. Second is improving reduced salivation. salivary stimulation by eating breakfast, chewing, or consuming acidic food also helps improve this salivary flow. Also, use salivary substitutes if the body is not producing sufficient saliva.

3. Brushing teeth, flossing, and toothpick:

Mechanical cleaning of teeth helps to reduce the number of oral bacteria and their substrates and thereby it helps to reduce the oral odor.

4. Tongue cleaning:

Scraping the tongue daily helps to remove the coating on the tongue thus it helps to reduce the oral odor.

5. Professional oral health care:

If someone has plaque or tartar buildup or sufferings from periodontitis he may seek professional help.

6. Chemical reduction of microorganisms:

Toothpaste and mouth rinses with antimicrobial properties can reduce oral odor by reducing the number of microorganisms chemically. The mouth rinses containing chlorhexidine or triclosan and essential oils.

7. Chemical neutralization of odorous compounds:

Certain compounds Reduce halitosis by chemically neutralizing the odorous compounds that are form in the oral cavity. These contain ingredients such as zinc, sodium, and magnesium.

8. management of non-oral halitosis:

In case someone has a tonsil Stone then removal of tonsil stones or tonsillectomy may needed. If the halitosis is due to an infection of H pylori or E.coli then antibiotics and other medications may use to treat. The underlying medical problems such as a sinus infection or a kidney disease can also help improve the breath odor.