4 Surprising Causes of Halitosis and How to Treat Them

Even though the third most common reason that makes people visit the dentist is bad breath, the condition is as misunderstood as repelling.

Though most of the time we relate our bad breath or halitosis to bad oral hygiene; that is not the case about 80% of the time.

Of course, the bacteria in our mouth keep spawning in dead skin cells, food debris, and the organic secretions in the mouth to produce smelly compounds like volatile sulfur compounds or VSCs. Decaying teeth can smell awful too. So, keeping your mouth clean can help a great deal.

But there are some surprising reasons you may have never thought of, as to why someone’s breath smells bad. The good news is, we have the solutions to each of these problems, right here.

  1. Diets and Food habits:

If you ever have tried crash diets, the trending Ketogenic Diet, or a low-carb diet, you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Most weight-loss and fitness diets lower blood glucose, making the body burn proteins and some compounds processed from fats (known as ketones or ketone bodies) to produce energy. The thing is; these ketones, their by-products, and ammonia from protein-metabolism can smell really bad. These compounds are volatile, and they get mixed with breath easily.


Hydration, oral hygiene, and mouth-fresheners. Diet Halitosis is just a phase and will get better once your body gets used to the diet.

Foods like garlic and all kinds of onions directly make your breath smell bad. Never have them before going out or when you have meetings.

Fresh milk, sweets, nuts, starchy roots, and sweet, fleshy fruits can also stick in between the teeth, rot, and disgust you. Acidic fruits, foods, and drinks can decay tooth enamel directly. The one-and-only solution: oral-hygiene. Wash your mouth after each meal (or drink), and floss regularly.

Speaking of washing the mouth, the next reason is going to be a shocker for most people…

  1. Alcohol-based mouthwashes!

You know alcohol does kill 100% of the bacteria, and nor does it guarantee that bacteria will not grow in the mouth later. But there’s more to it!

Mouthwashes that contain alcohol often cause a stinging sensation. While people relate this with deadly bacteria, this is just the soft tissues in the mouth getting burnt! The dead tissue will be the next breeding ground for the bacteria later. These dead tissues rot later in your mouth, making it stink.

On top of that, alcohol dries out your mouth, causing it to smell worse. It can also drowse the nerves that stimulate the salivary glands. Now, our saliva contains four antimicrobial enzymes (including lysozymes). When lesser saliva is produced, more bacteria can thrive.

Thus, not only will alcohol damage the mouth directly, but it can also promote the bacteria that destroy teeth and gums; ultimately causing Halitosis.

The way out

Non-alcoholic mouthwashes – there are plenty in the aisle!

  1. Having a Dry Mouth

Stress, alcohol, smoking, certain medications, and even dehydration can be the reason your mouth is drying up all the time.

Various diseases from flu to a mouth-drying condition known as Xerostomia can also make your mouth smell bad. Don’t worry though – most causes of Xerostomia are easily treated.

The solution:

Your doctor can zero in on the problem and treat your condition.

Prevent dehydration by sipping on water all through the day. Keep caffeinated and alcoholic beverages off your routine, as they can cause dehydration.

As a temporary solution, you can put dry mouth lozenges and breath-freshening on the next shopping list.

  1. Acid Reflux:

a.k.a. heartburn, or GERD – the embarrassing situation is more common than you think; even more damaging!

The enzymes and acids in the stomach are intended to break down hard-to-chew food particles; which means they’re stronger than your teeth.

So, not only do they have unpleasant odors as they are, they can decay your teeth too! Even mild acid refluxes that can happen to anyone throughout the day, are sending a lot of these vicious chemicals into the mouth.

How to get rid of the embarrassment:

Acid reflux Halitosis should be treated from its roots. First, make an appointment with your doctor and get rid of GERD. Include more alkaline foods like raw cucumbers in your diet.


The bonus:

Most people know that plaque is bad for their mouth, and that they cause Halitosis. But they also overlook the importance of visiting the dentist regularly. We’ve seen testimonials for Westphal Dental that show patient satisfaction and health matters to them. You need a dentist who does!

Regular removal of stain, plaque, and tartar by a dental hygienist is just as important in preventing Halitosis as daily oral hygiene routines.

One or more of these surprising reasons for Halitosis may be ruining your social circles. Figure out which ones apply, and go for the tried-and-tested solutions we have for you.

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