Halitosis (Bad Odor)

By Dr. Nour Zoarob

The most common cause of halitosis is bad hygiene. If particles of food are left in the mouth, their breakdown by bacteria produces sulfur compounds. Keeping the mouth hydrated can reduce mouth odor. The best treatment for bad breath is regular brushing, flossing, and hydration.

Anyone can suffer from bad breath. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people have bad breath on a regular basis.

Halitosis is the third most common reason that people seek dental care, after tooth decay and gum disease.

Causes include:

Tobacco: Tobacco products cause their own types of mouth odor.

Food: The breakdown of food particles stuck in the teeth can cause odors.

Dry mouth:

Saliva naturally cleans the mouth. If the mouth is naturally dry or dry due to disease, xerostomia, odors can build up.

Dental hygiene: brushing and flossing ensure the removal of small particles of food that can build up and slowly break down, producing an odor.


Good oral hygiene is the best method to reduce halitosis. This ensures that cavities are avoided and reduces the likelihood of gum disease.

It is recommended that individuals visit the dentist for a check-up and cleaning twice a year.

The dentist may recommend a toothpaste that includes an antibacterial agent or an antibacterial mouthwash.

Alternatively, if gum disease is present, professional cleaning may be necessary to clear out the build-up of bacteria in pockets between the gums and teeth.


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