Five causes of bad breath


Do you have bad breath and aren't sure how to get rid of it?

Although there's many causes of halitosis, the good news is it can be fixed. 

Here's five key causes to help you figure out the cause – and what might need to change:


The breakdown of food particles leads to an increase in bacteria and, as a result, can produce a foul odour. 

Some foods are also worth avoiding. Unfortunately (and as always) it's the tastiest food that turns out to be a nuisance. Onions, garlic and spices can all cause bad breath so it's best to keep them to a limit if you want the odours to stay away.


An obvious one, but smoking is undeniably a key cause of bad breath. Avoid tobacco at all costs – not just for the sake of your breath, but also your health.

Dry mouth

Saliva can help to cleanse the mouth. A condition called dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) dramatically affects saliva production, meaning it can underperform on its cleaning duties. 'Morning breath' in particular is a significant side effect. 

Poor oral hygiene

Failing to brush your teeth regularly and floss will eventually take its toll. 

A sticky film of plaque forms on teeth that irritates gums if it remains. Your tongue can also trap bacteria, another cause of odour. 

Moral of the story? Brush your teeth and floss otherwise you'll pay the price.


Antihistamines, sedatives, amphetamines, antidepressants, diuretics, decongestants, anticholinergics and some antipsychotics all cause bad breath. Some are broken down within the body to unveil chemicals that can be carried on your breath.

Updated 1st September 2022

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