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What Causes Bad Breath in Adults & Children

Natural Remedies for Bad Breath - SolutionsUnpleasant odor present in the exhaled breath .Bad breath also known as “Halitosis”. Halitosis can result from poor dental habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of food you eat and other unhealthy life style habits. It’s an unpleasant condition that’s cause for embarrassment

Odor causing sites in the mouth are

  1. Back of the tongue
  2. Areas between teeth
  3. Under the gum line

A healthy mouth should no obvious odor. Bad breath affects the social interactions. If your breath is fresh, you can talk freely and confidently. In many cases, you can improve bad breath with consistent proper dental hygiene. If simple self-care techniques don’t solve the problem, see your dentist as soon as possible


  • Poor oral hygiene
  • infections in the mouth
  • External agents
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Dry mouth
  • chronic illness

Poor oral hygiene:-

It is the most common cause of bad breath.

Bacterial action on the accumulated foods leads to bad breath.

Bacterial action on the sulfur containing substrates produce hydrogen sulfide gas which has bad odor.

Bacteria will multiply throughout the mouth then the odor also increases.

Odor causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.

Infections in the mouth:-

  • decay
  • Abscess
  • Swollen gums
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Oral candidiasis

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum disease.

Dry mouth:-

Saliva lubricates the mouth and it helps in proper chewing and swallowing. Saliva naturally cleans the mouth and prevents the cavity formation. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, cheeks. If not removed these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth is caused by decreased salivary production. Due to decreased Sali9va production plaque accumulation occurs and that leads to bad breath

External agents:-

  • Onions and garlic consumption
  • Coffee and tea
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarette smoking


Smoke from the cigarette Inhaled into the lungs and exhaled through the nose and can cause immediate effect on breath due to chemicals, residue remain in mouth leads to Bad breath. Habit of smoking can cause periodontal diseases.

Respiratory tract infections:-

  • Throat infections
  • Lung infections
  • Sinus
  • Chronic kidney failure-fishy smell
  • Ketoacidosis-fruity smell
  • Diabetes-sweet smell
  • Chronic acid reflux
  • Pneumonia

Medical conditions:-

Other causes

Stomach disorders such as acid reflux, bowel disorders or even just indigestion can all result in bad breath

Cracked dentures and improperly cleaned dentures and appliances

Causes of bad breath in children

It’s important to uncover the cause of bad breath in children. AN illness, not just poor dental hygiene might be responsible.

  1. Poor dental hygiene-children who do not properly brush or floss their teeth and tongue are more likely to experience bad breath, resulting from bacterial action on food particles in their mouth
  2. Mouth breathing-mouth breathing is another frequent cause for bad breath in children. Mouth breathing is the act of inhaling and exhaling through the mouth versus the nose. Mouth breathing results in dry mouth. Dry mouth provides an environment for the growth and propagation of bacteria that causes bad breath. Children may breath through the mouth as a result of cold, sore throat, sinus infection, enlarged tonsils, nasal passage blockages
  3. Tooth decay and gum diseases-odor causing bacteria increases in these conditions
  4. Children prone to thumb sucking may also experience dry mouth and bad breath
  5. Seasonal allergies-bad breath may indicate the onset of seasonal allergies. Allergies may cause mucus discharge to collect on the back of your child’s tongue. Bacteria accumulates in the mucus discharge and break down the protein to produce volatile sulfur products. Other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies are dry mouth, runny nose, itchy eyes

There are several ways to detect your own bad breath

  1. Visual test-most cases of bad breath are caused by bacteria on the tongue , you can visually check for their presence. They usually appear as a whitish coating. Stand at a mirror and use a tissue to grip the tip of your tongue. If the back part of tissue is noticeably coated, you must likely have halitosis
  2. Tongue test-you can test the front and back of your tongue to detect any odors. For the front part, lick your wrist and wait 5 seconds to dry saliva then smell the area. For the back of the tongue turn the spoon upside down and gently scrape it on that area. If you see whitish material on that spoon, sniff it, it will most likely have an unpleasant odor
  3. Floss test-use a strip of unscented dental floss to floss the areas between your back teeth. You should then smell the floss. If it has an odor you probably have bad breath


Using mint or rinsing with mouth wash may appear tom freshen up your breath, but these remedies only temporarily mask the problem, instead of eliminating it; eventually your bad breath returns.

  • Treatment will be given based on the under lying cause.
  • Consult your dentist
  • Follow oral hygiene instructions
  • Quit smoking
  • Use floss or interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between the teeth.
  • Mouth breathing and thumb sucking habits should be treated
  • Orthodontic correction for irregularly arranged teeth
  • Tooth decay and periodontal diseases should be treated
  • Cracked dentures should be replaced
  • Underlying medical conditions should be treated


  1. Daily twice brushing
  2. daily flossing
  3. Regular tongue cleaning
  4. Cleaning of the mouth  after meals
  5. Dentures should be cleaned properly
  6. Regular dental visits (at least 2 visits per year).
  7. Taking more water

Dental Health Guide, Providing information on dental care and dental hygiene along with detailing the most common dental diseases with symptoms and treatment methods. Readers should use the dental articles as reference only and consult a dentist and visit a dental clinic for dental health problems.


  1. A very common, yet important to know its reasons! Appropriate key reasons found for bad breath can ultimately bring suitable relief. Appreciate the details provided herein; just great!!!

  2. You are absolutely right!
    Its very common but many don’t know how to get rid of Bad Breath

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