Bad breath: what are the causes? Do you have treatment?

The bad breath is a condition that affects some people and can be very embarrassing in everyday life, both personal and professional life. Despite not being considered a disease, bad breath can have varied origins, requiring medical attention for proper treatment.

Therefore, in this article, we will talk more about the subject, unraveling the existing causes and treatments!

But, if you are suffering from bad breath, be sure to see a doctor or dentist.


What are the main causes of bad breath?

Bad breath may be occurring due to an imbalance in the body, so it is important to be aware.

Bad breath, which is also called halitosis, is a symptom that can occur due to several different factors. It is estimated that in 90% of cases it happens because of a problem in the mouth.

According to the Brazilian Halitosis Association (ABHA), in Brazil, research shows that approximately 30% of the population suffers from bad breath.

It is important to keep an eye on the causes of halitosis, as it can indicate that the body is out of balance and needs some type of specific treatment.

Lingual saburra

The health problem is the formation of a bacterial plaque deposited on the tongue. As a result, a whitish or yellowish secretion appears that adheres to the back of the tongue and is composed of leftover food, cells of the oral mucosa and bacteria. This situation causes a bad mouth odor.


The decay dental occurs by the action of bacteria in the mouth that turn food scraps into acids. One of the symptoms is bad breath.


It is a disease that affects the supporting structure of the tooth. It usually happens due to the accumulation of tartar that forms because of plaque. This situation also causes a bad odor in the oral region.


The main cause of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is the accumulation of bacterial plaque on the surfaces of teeth caused by poor oral hygiene. When this occurs, the result is halitosis.


The bacterial plaques deposited on the tonsils cause symptoms such as sore throat , dry mouth and also bad breath.


Popularly known as dry mouth, the health problem causes a dry mouth, which increases the peeling of epithelial cells from the mucosa of the mouth. Therefore, they will be deposited on the tongue and decomposed by the bacteria that feed on these cells. This process increases the formation of bad odors in the mouth.


The stress decreases saliva production, which is responsible for eliminating the formation of bacterial plaque in the mouth. Therefore, when the amount of saliva decreases, halitosis appears.


Some diseases also cause halitosis. Among them, we can mention: kidney or liver failure, bronchitis , sleep apnea , reflux and inflammation in the throat.

Decompensated diabetes

When diabetes is out of control, bad breath can occur, because high blood glucose causes dryness in the mouth and an unpleasant odor. This smell is usually reminiscent of acetone or aged fruit.

In addition, people with diabetes often also have periodontal disease, which contributes to worsening breath.

Little water consumption

Drinking little water during the day decreases salivary flow, which causes food to grow between your teeth. This increases the chances of developing caries, and consequently, halitosis.

Smoking and alcohol consumption

Both smoking and drinking alcohol can aggravate bad breath. This is because these habits harm and dry out the oral mucosa. And there is an inadequate oral hygiene and decreased salivary flow. As a result, there is a proliferation of microorganisms in the mouth. And, consequently, bad breath arises.

Not eating for a long time

Those who do not have the right time to eat may have more halitosis. People who go without food for long hours have an unpleasant odor in their mouth. Therefore, bad breath in the morning is common.

Consumption of some foods

Some foods like onions and garlic, for example, cause bad breath. This is because the stomach absorbs oils from food during digestion. Then they pass into the bloodstream and reach the lungs and then cause unpleasant odors in the mouth.

Signs to identify bad breath

Some people may find it difficult to identify bad breath, as their sense of smell gets used to the unpleasant odor. One way to notice bad breath is to place your hands over your nose and mouth to blow and feel your breath.

Some other signs indicate bad breath. See below for details:

  • Tongue coating or tongue coating;
  • Bleeding, swelling and redness of the gums;
  • Dry mouth feeling;
  • Tastes bad in the mouth.

How to end bad breath?

To eliminate bad breath it is very important to find out the cause of the problem. But maintaining good hygiene habits is essential to prevent and control halitosis. Therefore, it is necessary to brush your teeth after meals and floss correctly.

It is worth mentioning that, often, halitosis occurs because of bacteria that reproduce quickly in the mouth. Therefore, eliminating any food residue in the mouth after each meal can be efficient.

In addition, it is important to brush your tongue and use a mouthwash to help remove bacteria that the brush cannot reach.

It is necessary to stay hydrated to increase the flow of saliva. Another tip is to always have sugar-free chewing gums on hand to stimulate salivation.

It is worth giving up smoking and alcoholic beverages to avoid irritating the gums and aggravating bad breath. It is also recommended to consume less sugar.

The person should also avoid going more than 3 hours without eating.

A regular visit to the dentist is also recommended to check your oral health . During the consultation, a physical examination will be carried out to diagnose the causes of halitosis.

Treatment for bad breath

Doing the correct cleaning of the mouth every day is one of the best ways to treat and prevent bad breath.

The treatment for halitosis varies according to the cause. See below for details.

Less saliva

Drugs that stimulate the salivary gland and increase the amount of saliva may be indicated.

Problems such as gingivitis, periodontitis and coating

There are personalized treatments that indicate appropriate oral hygiene instructions according to each problem. And also medications and products to control bad breath.

Hygiene and prophylaxis

In this treatment, the dentist removes plaque and tartar. This alleviates oral health problems and also bad breath.

Dietary changes

The indication is to maintain a balanced diet, including consuming hard and fibrous foods. Foods with a strong odor or sulfur such as garlic, onions, pickles, cabbage, cabbage and broccoli should be avoided. It is worth reducing the consumption of foods that increase dry mouth, such as those with a lot of sodium, hot and spicy.

Home remedy for bad breath

The best thing to do when bad breath bothers you is to seek expert help. However, some ingredients can lessen discomfort, even if momentarily.

Among the foods that can help to improve halitosis are: chewing cloves, parsley leaves and gargling with water and propolis, mint tea , mouthwash with eucalyptus and baking soda.

Bad breath comes from the stomach?

Most of the time not. And the causes of bad breath vary widely. The number of people who suffer from bad breath because of stomach problems is quite small.

Who has ulcers, for example, may have halitosis because of the bacteria that cause the health problem.

Another reason for bad breath from the stomach is the problem of gastroesophageal reflux. In these cases, the acid that comes from the stomach comes back and causes a burning sensation in the chest and throat. And bad breath is one of the symptoms of reflux. It is known that the damage caused to the throat and the structures of the mouth can cause bacteria to grow in the mouth, and consequently, halitosis appears.

In even more severe cases, advanced stomach cancer can cause bad breath. This occurs when there is necrosis in the tissues. Thus, there is the production of some unpleasant-smelling substances, which are carried by the bloodstream.

When they reach the lungs, they are eliminated by exhalation and cause halitosis. In this situation, the strong odor can be identified by both the mouth and the nostrils.

Therefore, when bad breath arises, it is important to seek medical or dentist help to diagnose the cause and start treatment as soon as possible.