Bad Breath (Halitosis) Causes, Treatmentand Prevention

Tamale a resident of kasubi a Kampala suburb always wins all his arguments because when he opens his mouth everybody keeps quiet and for this he has been thinking that he is invincible not until one of his friends confided in him about the foul smell from his mouth that he was left in a state of disarray.


Everyone has bad breath from time to time especially in the morning. This can happen when you’re hungry, when you are fasting or after ingesting a type of food with a strong odor such as garlic and onions and some habits like smoking and alcohol consumption.

There can be many causes for bad breath with the major one being the decrease of salivary secretion. Saliva has a cleaning action that helps reduce or eliminate bad breath and when saliva levels decrease bacteria can grow causing bad breath.

The main health problems associated with bad breath are:

Periodontal (gum) disease which is caused by plaque buildup on the teeth. Bacteria found in the transparent and sticky substance can irritate the gums and If not treated on time the disease can destroy gum tissue and bone structure supporting the teeth.

Oral thrush which can result due to reduced body immunity

Dental decay which can be due to smoking or poor oral hygiene

Xerostomia (dry mouth) because Saliva is necessary to clean your mouth of food from debris, eliminate dead cells from the tongue, gums and cheeks and  neutralize acids in the mouth.

If these cells are not removed they decompose inside the mouth causing bad breath.

Certain drugs can cause bad breath as a side effect.                                                                                                  Some diseases and conditions such as severe respiratory tract infections (pneumonia or bronchitis), chronic sinus infection, diabetes and chronic esophageal reflux disease can lead to bad breath.

To help you have a more pleasant breath:

  • Gargle with mouthwashin order to temporarily remove bad breath. Rinse for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  • Brush your teeth, tongue, palate and gums at least twice a day with toothpaste
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Adopt a diet low in fatand rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products such as snuff or chewing tobacco
  • Avoid food and drinks that cause bad breath such as garlic and alcohol
  • Eat at regular intervals. Dieting or missing meals can decrease saliva and cause bad breath
  • Chew sugarless gum, suck sugarless mint candy, drink water especially if you have a dry mouth
  • Remove mobile dentures, partial dentures or braces and wash them once a day or as directed by your dentist. Bacteria and food parts can collect on them causing bad breath;
  • Make regular dental checks and Make an appointment with a dentist or ear, nose and throat physician if you have frequent problems with bad breath.

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