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Understanding Halitosis



Halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath is a condition that usually happens randomly to most people. The condition is more likely to occur in the morning, also called “morning breath.” However, it can happen at any time of the day and is usually brought on by certain foods and/or consumption of alcohol.


Although halitosis can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common are found in the mouth. Most cases of halitosis are caused from a breakdown of bacteria or food particles found in the mouth. These substances release sulfur gases known as Volatile Sulfur Compounds that are perceived as bad breath. The tongue, especially the back of the tongue, is an area that can become a breeding ground for bacteria. As such, it is a common source of bad breath. However, bacteria and food debris can harbor anywhere, like in crevices between teeth, under gums, and even in broken down teeth or fillings.

Although less common, there are other conditions that can lead to more chronic bad breath. These systemic conditions could include kidney infections, respiratory tract infections and diabetes. Therefore any persistent or frequent cases of halitosis should be evaluated by your health care professional.


Most of us would typically treat, or try to prevent, an occasional case of halitosis with breath mints or mouthwash. Unfortunately, this is the most ineffective method because it only masks the odor and does not treat the underlying cause. The best treatment is prevention. Start by brushing and flossing YOU HEARD ME RIGHT, FLOSSING every day. The goal is to remove the bacteria and food particles lodged in all the small crevices in your mouth. Additionally, scrape (DO NOT BRUSH) your tongue. I alluded to this in my previous video on Dental Hygiene Routine. Proper hydration is also important because dehydration exacerbates the bad breath. Alcohol free, all natural mouth rinses like Tooth and Gum Tonic available here are extremely effective in neutralizing the odors caused by foods like onions and garlic.

If your bad breath is coming more from poor digestion, you may want to incorporate digestive enzymes with your meal. Probiotics are also helpful in repopulating the good bacteria in the gut. A natural solution is parsley which can be chewed after a meal to aid in digestion.