Written by Ong Ru Shan

Halitosis, which is also known as chronic bad breath is a very common problem arise in the society nowadays. It can cause significant psychological distress and the problem should be rectified as soon as possible. It is so common that approximately 1 in 4 people have bad breath on a regular basis. Halitosis can cause significant worry, awkwardness and anxiety, but this issue can be handled easily by just trying out some simple home remedies or changing the lifestyles.



What causes halitosis?

There are a few potential causes of bad breath which include:

  • Foods and beverages

Certain foods and drinks can cause bad breath as they can be absorbed into the blood stream and travel to the lungs, and further affect the breath due to the exhalation of the air from the lungs. Some examples of the offenders are onion, garlic, certain spices, orange juice and soda, alcohol etc.

  • Tobacco

Any kinds of tobacco products can increase the risk of getting gum disease which can cause bad breath.

  • Dry mouth

Saliva works to cleanse the mouth naturally. Odours can build up when someone experiences dry mouth either in natural form or due to certain condition known as xerostomia.

  • Poor dental hygiene

Food particles that are stuck in the teeth can produce odours when they break down slowly. Irregular brushing will lead to the formation of plaque and cause the irritation of the gum and inflammation between the teeth and gums called gingivitis. Dentures that are not been cleaned properly increases the chance of bacteria formation and thus caused halitosis.

  • Health problems

Sometimes bad breath is a sign of more severe health problems. For examples, certain cancers, liver or kidney diseases, sinus infection, chronic lung infection, gastrointestinal problems may produce bad breath.

How to treat halitosis?

To prevent and treat bad breath, there are some suggestions as below:

  • Change the diet by avoiding foods and drinks that cause the bad breath and also consume more fruits and vegetables. And of course drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid the use of all kinds of tobacco products.
  • Suck on sugar free mints when dry mouth occurs.
  • Brush teeth, gum and tongue with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, preferably after meal. Tongue scrapper is highly recommended as it can be quite useful.
  • Make it a habit to floss at least once every day as flossing helps to reduce the build-up of food particles in between the teeth and gums
  • Make it a routine to visit the dentist for check-up and cleaning at least twice a year.


  • org. (2019). What Is Halitosis? – American Dental Association. [online] Available at: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/halitosis [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].
  • Newman, T. and Christine Frank, D. (2019). Bad breath (halitosis): Causes, diagnosis, and treatment. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166636.php [Accessed 14 Oct. 2019].
  • (2019). Halitosis: Bad Breath Causes and Treatments. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/bad-breath#1 [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].