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How to Prevent Bad Breath or Halitosis?

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How to Prevent Bad Breath or Halitosis?

1 min read


This article discusses the causes and management of bad breath which is also called halitosis.

Written by

Dr. Osman Adam

Medically reviewed by

Dr. P. C. Pavithra Pattu

Published At January 11, 2019
Reviewed AtAugust 3, 2023

Halitosis or a foul odor that comes from the mouth is not a medical emergency, but at least 25 to 30 percent of the world's population complains about this problem.


Halitosis can be described in two classes:

  • Bad breath in the morning, which is a normal physiological change. However, it can be changed by using oral health measures like brushing your teeth every day.
  • Bad breath at any time, which would be constant if the patient has some pathology. It is caused by different conditions and diseases, such as local problems like dental cavities, gum disease, or due to systemic diseases like diabetes, dry mouth, malnutrition, intestinal disorders, etc. If you suffer from any of these systemic conditions, it is best you consult your physician and get treated for it.

A dentist can treat conditions that cause bad breath, for example, if you have dental cavities, then your dentist will fill the tooth for you. If you suffer from some gum disease, then a dentist will do a professional cleaning in the dental office.

Ways to Prevent Bad Breath:

Here are some ways to prevent bad breath:

  1. If you wear dentures, remove them at night and clean them to get rid of bacterial buildup from food and drink.
  2. Brush after every meal and floss, preferably three times a day.
  3. Change your toothbrush every two to three months.
  4. Try a 30-second mouthwash rinse that is alcohol-free, like Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2 %.
  5. Watch videos that show the best brushing technique that is the bass method.
  6. Go for regular dental checkup and cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

Halitosis can be caused due to the following reasons:
- Smoking tobacco products.
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Dry mouth (xerostomia).
- Certain drugs.
- Oral infections.


Is It Possible to Cure Halitosis?

Bad breath or halitosis can be controlled by maintaining proper oral hygiene habits. These habits include brushing twice daily and using mouthwash as an additional aid for oral hygiene. Also, visiting a dentist for a thorough scaling is recommended to eliminate hard stains and calculus.


Are There Any Medications for Halitosis?

There is no specific medication for bad breath. However, the dentist may ask to limit food containing garlic and onion to limit halitosis. If the bad breath is caused due to acid regurgitation, the dentist may advise using H1 blockers (Cetrizine) or proton pump inhibitors (Omeprazole).


How does a Dentist treat Halitosis?

A dentist may try and eliminate the root cause of the disease, which could be oral infections or dislodgement of food particles in the caries tooth. Then, the dentist may clean the tooth with a process called scaling that removes any dirt on the tooth surface. Finally, the patient is asked to continue with proper brushing habits and mouthwash, and regular follow-ups.


Is It Possible to Have a Bad Breath After Brushing Your Teeth?

Usually, bad breath associated with long-standing mouth infections may not disappear with just regular brushing. Hence it is essential to treat the infection to eliminate bad breath. Also, it may require extra care for oral hygiene.


Is There Any Smell Associated With Everyone’s Breath?

Yes, there is a natural smell associated with everyone’s breath. It occurs due to the presence of sulfur compounds that tend to produce a smell. This can be eliminated by regularly brushing to prevent the buildup of any sticky layer on the teeth.


What Is the Test for Halitosis?

A BANA (microbial-enzymatic N- Benzoyl- DL- Arginine-2- Napthylamide) test is used to determine bad breath or halitosis in an individual. A plaque sample is removed from the mouth and smeared on the test strip. The strip is then examined for any enzymatic actions caused by bacteria.


What Types of Antibiotics Are Used for Halitosis?

Antibiotics like Metronidazole are effective against sulfur-producing compounds responsible for bad breath. However, regular brushing and good oral hygiene can combat bad breath. Regular dental check-ups also play a crucial role in maintaining good oral hygiene.


Do Drugs Cause Halitosis?

Although it is known that drugs induce halitosis, the drug specifications are not explained much in the literature. It is generally due to dry mouth that results in bad breath. Drugs like antihistamines and antidepressants are known to cause halitosis.


Is Halitosis Caused Due to Allergies?

Nasal allergies can contribute to bad breath. This is because of the backflow of mucus and the underlying throat infection. It causes an unpleasant smell in the mouth resulting in halitosis.
Dr. Osman Adam
Dr. Osman Adam



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