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Causes of bad breath
3rd Apr


Causes of bad breath

What are the causes of bad breath (Halitosis)?

The medical term for bad breath is ‘halitosis’. Many people suffering with halitosis find that it may impact on self esteem and confidence.

Often people become withdrawn, and others are unaware until someone tells them. Foods such as onions, garlic, cheese and coffee, smoking or a dry mouth (especially in the morning) are common causes of bad breath. This is all perfectly normal and is only temporary.

Persistent halitosis is caused by excessive growth of bacteria living off food remains, dead tissue cells, blood and mucous. Anaerobic bacteria in the mouth produce gases containing smelly sulphur compounds.

Main causes of bad breath

  • Gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis)
  • Dental infection (abscess or infection around a wisdom tooth)
  • Dental decay
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tonsil stones
  • Dry mouth syndrome (usually related to prescribed medicines)
  • Sinus infection
  • Throat infection
  • Post nasal drip

85-90% of halitosis is caused by bacteria in the mouth (around the teeth and gums).

How to get rid of bad breath

Appropriate treatment for halitosis requires an accurate diagnosis. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best course of action. Mechanically removing the anaerobic bacteria causing gum disease is the priority.

Mouthwashes and chewing gum provide only temporary relief because they try to mask the symptoms and do not address the underlying disease (which is the main cause of bad breath) that is causing the problem.

What should I do?

Ask our dental experts for help with your specific situation so that you can achieve a healthy mouth, fresh breath and confidence.


Our dentists, hygienists or oral health educators can explain the causes of your bad breath, and recommend the most appropriate way to tackle it.

Call us to book an appointment: 01908 611478


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