What causes bad breath? Halitosis or chronic bad breath can have a big impact on your life.  Among other things, it can make conversation unpleasant, make food taste differently, and even result in difficulties with dating.

Halitosis is the medical term for chronic bad breath. Everyday bad breath (morning breath, for example) disappears with regular brushing and flossing. Lingering oral odour, however, can be more serious and potentially difficult to self-diagnose, as you may become familiar with your bad breath and not notice the smell. If you cannot fix your bad breath with everyday brushing and flossing, you may be in the 2.5% of the population that have halitosis. It is important to note that your bad breath may stem from a bigger dental or oral problem.  If you suspect you may have additional issues, contact your dentist.

Symptoms of Halitosis

  • Constant bad breath
  • Build-up of plaque around teeth
  • Post-nasal drip, or mucous
  • Thick saliva and a constant need to clear throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Constant sour, bitter metallic taste
  • Burning tongue

What Causes Bad Breath (Halitosis) and How To Get Rid of It?

One of the main causes of halitosis is poor dental hygiene. Good hygiene habits and regular dental check-ups are critical for maintaining oral health and avoiding bad breath.

Failing to properly clean your teeth, dentures or braces is another cause of halitosis. You should brush your teeth for at least 3 minutes, and floss every day. Make sure to brush all your teeth on different angles, and your gums as a lot of bacteria is stored there.

Gum disease and cavities are also other factors leading to halitosis. Bacteria is formed when food gets embedded within the teeth, which can lead to infection and potential chronic bad breath problems. Dentures or braces that are not cleaned regularly or that don’t fit properly can also harbour odour-causing bacteria and food particles.

How Diet Affects Your Breath

Diet can also play a prominent role in halitosis. Coffee, garlic, onions, strong curry, fish, acidic beverages and alcohol all promote bad breath and can also cause stomach issues like acid reflux (another cause of bad breath) and belching.

Limiting these foods can prevent your bad breath from getting worse. Foods such as apples, spinach, probiotic yoghurt and plenty of water have been known to lessen the effects of halitosis.


Tobacco products stain your teeth and cause a lingering odour that can make your breath undesirable. Smoking also aggravates gums and hastens tooth decay, which can lead to long-term halitosis.

It is important to note that your bad breath may stem from a bigger dental or oral problem. If you are suffering from halitosis, or would like to find out more, contact us at Plainland Dental today – we can help you to identify possible causes and provide expert advice.

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May 29, 2024

On this occasion the dentist Natalie was very good, explained clearly why specialist surgery was required. The standout however, was Bec the admin. Officer, who went over and above to get me an urgent appt. the next day. She was amazing & I very much appreciated her assistance.

April 10, 2024

I've just called to make an appoint with Dr Kapil and have learnt he is no longer doing general dental work. Sadly after 20 years I need to find a new dentist. He will be hard to replace....