What are the most common causes of bad breath or halitosis?

If we want to combat bad breath (halitosis) it is very important to know its causes. According to the statistical data handled by the majority of experts approximately 80% of the causes of bad breath can be found in the mouth itself. The rest of the cases would attend to systemic diseases, consumption of certain foods and other less common causes. Knowing the causes that are causing halitosis will allow the appropriate measures to be taken, home remedies for bad breath do not always work and the attention of a specialist is necessary.

The most common causes

poor oral hygiene

A inadequate oral hygiene It is the most common cause of bad breath. Bacterial plaque and food debris between the teeth cause a bad smell in the mouth. Those people who use dentures or some type of prosthesis must pay special attention to the correct cleaning of these pieces so that they do not form tartar and do not accumulate food debris.

Oral infections, gum and periodontal problems

Oral infections, gum and periodontal problems are another group of very common causes of halitosis. For example, the gingivitis and pyorrhea they cause an unpleasant odour. Most of these diseases and oral health problems require professional attention.

respiratory tract infections

The respiratory tract infections They also cause foul-smelling breath. Among the most common we can mention sinusitis or tonsillitis, although suffering from the flu or cold can also make our breath not very fresh.

Food and other external factors

Some foods and external factors, due to its composition, effects on the body or metabolic products can influence, even be the only cause, of halitosis. Among the best known foods that cause bad breath are garlic, onion or some spices such as curry. Other very frequent external factors are tobacco, coffee and alcohol. Some crash weight loss diets can cause gastrointestinal changes that promote bad breath.


dry mouth (xerostomia) causes unpleasant breath. Having a dry mouth can be due to very diverse causes, some of which are voluntarily avoidable, such as not drinking enough water or breathing through the mouth, and others that may require specialized treatment, such as hormonal problems, salivary gland problems, chemotherapy treatments or treatment with some drugs.

systemic diseases

Certain systemic diseases promote halitosis. Among them the most prominent are diabetes and liver, kidney and digestive diseases.

Find more information about bad breath at the Breath Institute – Breath Research.

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