Bad breath is mostly caused by bacteria that normally live on the surface of the tongue and in the throat. Sometimes, these bacteria start to break down proteins at a very high rate and thus create. Bad breath is not infectious.

Common causes of bad breath include:

  • Dental factors – such as periodontal disease or poor oral hygiene
  • Dry mouth – caused by medicines, alcohol, stress or a medical condition.
  • Smoking – which starves the mouth of oxygen.

Less common causes of bad breath include:

  • Acid and bile reflux from the stomach.
  • complications due to chronic sinusitis.
  • Kidney failure, various carcinomas, metabolic dysfunctions, and biochemical disorders, together account for only a very small percentage of bad breath suffers.
  • Foods – such as onions, garlic or cauliflower, which cause certain odors. However, these effects are only short-lived.
bad breath


There is no one treatment for halitosis or bad breath. The treatment will depend on what is causing the problem. Avoiding dehydration and good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, are important for curing bad breath. Some mouthwashes, lozenges and toothpastes can assist in fighting halitosis.

Gentle but effective tongue cleaning may also be required. The tongue should be brushed in a gentle but thorough manner, from the back towards the front of the tongue, keeping in mind that the hardest to reach back portion smells the worst.