Bad Breath (Halitosis): Everything you need to know

Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, can cause one to feel quite self-conscious. It is therefore important to understand the causes of bad breath and how we can manage this.

Causes of bad breath (halitosis)

Halitosis is caused by bacteria that degrade salivary protein and turn it into volatile sulphur compounds. This can be caused by various factors:

The consumption of certain foods

Foods like onions and garlic contain pungent oils. These then get carried through your bloodstream to your lungs, and when you breathe out, the pungent leftovers are exhaled too.

Poor Oral hygiene

If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles can remain behind in your mouth. This causes bad breath. Furthermore, poor oral hygiene also allows for plaque to form on your teeth, which can irritate the gums and cause periodontitis.

Metabolic Disorders

Diseases, including some cancers, and conditions such as metabolic disorders, can cause a bad breath odor due to the chemicals they produce. Chronic reflux of stomach acids can also be associated with bad breath. Similarly, the halitosis or bad breath that comes from an eating disorder is so severe that it’s virtually impossible to disguise with mouthwashes or breath fresheners.

How to get rid of bad breath (halitosis)

The good news is halitosis is curable! The bacteria that cause bad breath also causes tooth decay. Therefore, by removing the bacteria, dental cleanings are effective at preventing and controlling this problem. Regular 6-monthly check-ups and cleans will thus keep halitosis at bay.

At Bite Dental, our team of dentists and hygienists allow full hour appointments to thoroughly debride and polish your teeth above and below the gumline, complete an oral cancer screening, jaw joint and posture assessment, soft and hard tissue examination; as well as providing you with all the information and instruction you need to manage your oral health at home. 

On a day to day basis, there are also a couple of things you can do add to your halitosis treatment.


Researchers have found certain probiotics can inhibit the production of volatile sulphur compounds in the mouth. Regular gargling of a solution containing probiotics (W. cibaria/S. salivarius) resulted in a reduction in a reduction in bad breath.

Manual flossing 

Regular flossing is an effective way to clean between your teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis and halitosis.

Mouth Wash

Many mouth rinses are available that make your breath smell good, but, they don’t necessarily offer any long-term dental health benefits. Some do kill bacteria in the short term, however they will grow back eventually.

However, anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis mouth rinses can give a boost to your dental care habits by killing potentially damaging bacteria. If the bottle has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval, the claims made on the bottle have been verified by an independent scientific body. These rinses work by killing a different spectrum of bacteria than the breath-freshening rinses. Oral bacteria can cause gum disease, so using a rinse that eliminates some of these organisms will help your overall oral health. 

While mouth wash can be an effective addition to reducing bad breath, they are not a substitute for regular and effective brushing and flossing. Don’t get lazy with your toothbrush and dental floss. And when choosing a mouth rinse product, pick one that has the ADA seal of approval.

Charcoal Toothpaste

Studies show that some bacteria can be absorbed by charcoal toothpaste, which can reduce bad breath and surface stains. However, sufficient evidence to support the many health benefits is lacking. To learn more regarding the negatives of charcoal toothpaste, have a read here

Foods to mask bad breath

If you’re out and about and have just eaten a whole heap of onions, not to fear! There are a few foods that can help to mask breath odour until you brush your teeth:

  • Parsley – probably one of the most well-known ways to treat bad breath. Its oils are what do the trick. Likewise, some other herbs and spices that will do the trick are spearmint, cinnamon, coriander, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and cardamom.
  • Celery, carrots, and cucumbers
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Green tea
  • Yogurt
  • Apples and pears

Good oral hygiene and dental maintenance can extend your life expectancy. It can work to prevent greater issues such as gum disease, heart disease, the risk of oral cancer, as well as bad breath. At Bite Dental, we recommend visiting us for a check-up and clean every 6 months. This way, we can keep your oral health up to scratch, and reduce any bad breath you may have. 

 Right now, we are offering new clients the chance to join our studio. Take advantage of a full one-hour dental check-up, consultation, and any x-rays required, all for just $99

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