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Bad Breath Concerns? Here's What You Need to Know: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Have you ever been concerned about bad breath? If so, you’re not alone. Halitosis, or bad breath, is a common problem that affects millions of people around the world. 

Bad breath can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for those suffering from it. But what causes halitosis? How is it treated? And, most importantly, how can you prevent it from happening in the first place? In this article we’ll explore these ideas to learn more about halitosis and how to keep your breath fresh.

Causes of Halitosis

Halitosis, or bad breath, is a condition that affects many people and can have a major influence on one's confidence. Bad breath can be caused by a wide range of factors.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Everyone knows it’s important to brush our teeth twice daily. However, according to a survey on Yahoo Life, only 37% of women and 44% of men identified themselves as twice-daily brushers (1).

Which means the majority of those surveyed, don’t. 

If you aren’t brushing your teeth twice a day, it’s probably not surprising to learn that this is likely causing bad breath.

We often make the mistake of assuming brushing our teeth twice a day is a novelty, or something nice to do. However, this thinking is flawed. According to the American Dental Association and oral health experts, brushing twice a day is an absolute necessity (1, 3).

Without this routine care, harmful bacteria invade your mouth and multiply out of control. These harmful bacteria cause not only bad breath but also lead to more significant long-term problems, like cavities and gum disease (3).

So if you aren’t routinely brushing and flossing twice a day and are concerned about bad breath, implementing a healthy oral hygiene routine should be your first step.

Dry Mouth

If your mouth is often feeling dry, your mouth may not be making enough saliva. Having adequate saliva levels is important because saliva works continuously to wash out your mouth. Not having enough saliva means that your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be, leading to bad breath (2).

Food and Drinks

The list of foods and drinks that can lead to bad breath is long - garlic, onions, Doritos, coffee, and alcohol are food and drinks often consumed that aren’t great for your breath. 

What you eat and drink affects the air you exhale, so if you’re worried about halitosis, paying attention to your diet and possibly avoiding certain foods is something worth considering. Brushing your teeth shortly after eating can help with this as well (3).

Gum Disease

If you’re experiencing bad breath that just won’t seem to go away, you may be suffering from gum disease. Gum disease is caused by sticky and cavity-causing bacteria called plaque. As you might imagine, this plaque causes bad breath, too.

If you think you may have gum disease, talk to your dentist. Over time, if plaque stays on your teeth it hardens into tartar, which cannot be removed without a dental professional (4).

Smoking and Tobacco

People who smoke are more likely to suffer from gum disease as tobacco irritates gum tissue. Smoking can also alter one's sense of taste and smell, so nicotine users may not be as aware if they have bad breath and how their breath smells to those around them (3).

Medical Conditions

If you’re taking proper care of your teeth and gums, bad breath can indicate underlying medical conditions. Potential causes for bad breath might include sinus conditions, gastric reflux, diabetes, or liver or kidney disease. 

In this case, it is important to visit your healthcare provider to look into the potential medical condition behind bad breath.

Treatment & Prevention for Halitosis

Treatment and prevention for halitosis can range from lifestyle changes to medical interventions. 

Brush and Floss Twice Daily (At Least)

Making sure to brush and floss regularly (preferably after meals) can help keep odors at bay and lead to strong overall oral health (1).


Mouthwash is often used to help with bad breath. Over-the-counter mouthwashes can help kill odor-causing bacteria and mask the bad smell for a short time (3

It’s important to note that mouthwash is only a temporary fix, however, and can’t help you achieve long-lasting results.

Drink More Water

Remember how we talked about the importance of adequate saliva levels? 

Saliva is mostly water, and it’s your body’s natural way of continuously rinsing and cleaning your mouth. Drinking more water helps with saliva production as well as eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like apples and carrots (3).  

Quit Smoking

Giving up this habit will do wonders for both your breath and overall health.

Have Regular Dental Cleanings

Make sure to schedule seeing your dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. Your dentist is your best partner to helping you maintain healthy mouth which is an important part of your overall health. 

Have regular dental cleanings and discuss with them any concerns and questions you may have regarding your oral health.


Halitosis can be very embarrassing but luckily there are ways to prevent it from occurring in the first place! By following simple steps such as brushing twice a day (preferably after meals), flossing regularly and visiting your dentist twice a year for checkups & cleanings; you can ensure that your breath remains fresh all day long! 

It’s important to remember that if you have persistent bad breath then you should see your doctor as this could be indicative of an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed accordingly. Taking care of your oral health should always be priority number one!

Receive Exceptional Care at Greentree Dental in Columbus, Ohio

At Greentree Dental, we are here to help you have the best oral health. Located in Central Ohio, our team is of top rated dentists, hygienists, and support staff are here to make your dental experience as comfortable and positive as possible.

You can make an appointment here or call us at 614-881-5182.


  1. Yahoo Life, The Gross Truth About How Often We Brush Our Teeth
  2. Cleveland Clinic, Bad Breath (Halitosis)
  3. American Dental Association, Bad Breath: 6 Causes & 6 Solutions
  4. Web MD: What is Tartar? 6 Tips to Control Buildup

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you. Call 614.459.5511 or request an appointment online to get started.