There are many identified causes of halitosis. This article will deal with the oral causes and what you can do to manage them.  

1 Tongue
The most common location for mouth-related halitosis is the tongue. Large quantities of naturally occurring bacteria are often found on the posterior of the tongue where they are undisturbed by normal activity. This part of the tongue is relatively dry and poorly cleansed, and bacterial populations can thrive on remnants of food deposits and postnasal drip.
2 Mouth
Other parts of the mouth may also contribute to the overall odor, but are not as common as the back of the tongue. These locations are, in order of descending prevalence: food-impaction areas in between the teeth,  faulty dental work, abscesses, and unclean dentures. Oral based lesions caused by viral infections like Herpes Simplex and HPV may also contribute to bad breath.
3 Gum Disease
Gum Disease is a major cause of a bad taste in the mouth and bad breath, and this can happen so gradually that you may not be aware of the odor. Removal of the subgingival calculus (i.e. tartar or hard plaque) and dead tissue has been shown to improve mouth odor considerably. This is accomplished by “deep scaling” and root planing and irrigation.


Chronic halitosis is not well understood by most physicians and dentists, so effective treatment is not always easy to find. The following strategies may be suggested:

  1. Gently cleaning the tongue surface twice daily is the most effective way to keep bad breath in control. Methods used to counter bad breath, such as mints, mouth sprays, mouthwash or gum, may only temporarily mask the odors created by the bacteria on the tongue. They cannot cure bad breath because they do not remove the source of the bad breath. Effective ways to clean the tongue would be to use a tongue scraper or a toothbrush.
  2. Eating a healthy breakfast with rough foods helps clean the very back of the tongue.
  3. Chewing gum: Since dry-mouth can increase bacterial buildup and cause or worsen bad breath, chewing sugarless gum can help with the production of saliva, which washes away oral bacteria, has antibacterial properties and promotes mechanical activity which helps cleanse the mouth.
  4. Gargling right before bedtime with an effective mouthwash. Mouthwashes may contain active ingredients that are inactivated by the soap present in most toothpastes. Thus it is recommended to refrain from using mouthwash directly after toothbrushing with paste.
  5. Maintaining proper oral hygiene, including daily tongue cleaning, brushing, flossing, and periodic visits to dentists. Flossing is particularly important in removing rotting food debris and bacterial plaque from between the teeth, especially at the gumline. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist).
  6. Probiotic treatments, have been shown suppress malodor bacteria growth.
  7. Smoking Smoking’s contributions to bad breath include dry mouth and gum disease, and it can also increase your risk of oral and sinus infections.
Protect your dental and general health and avoid these sources of bad breath with regular visits to your dentist.


Here are the most prevalent sources of halitosis:
Some one quarter of the patients seeking professional advice on bad breath suffer from a highly exaggerated concern of having bad breath, known as halitophobia, delusional halitosis, These patients are sure that they have bad breath, although many have not asked anyone for an objective opinion. Halitophobia may severely affect the lives of some 0.5–1.0% of the adult population.

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