Halitosis, Causes and Remedies

Bad taste and smell in the morning or the occasional bad breath after eating spicy foods are not considered halitosis.

True halitosis is a persistent odor that does not disappear after toothbrush and mouthwash and occurs when, under certain conditions, certain strains of anaerobic bacteria proliferate at an abnormal rate, decomposing the protein substances present in food residues, mucus and saliva and thus releasing volatile sulfur compounds, responsible for the bad odor.

Normally the production of saliva keeps the pH of the mouth at a value that prevents this bacterial proliferation, but during the night and in the warm months there is a reduction in salivary flow and an increase in pH, which contribute to the excessive growth of bacteria responsible for halitosis.

This explains why bad breath is particularly common after waking up and in smokers, as smoking not only contains substances that give breath an unpleasant odor, but also promotes dry mouth.


There can be different causes of halitosis, in 90% of cases are attributable to intraoral factors and dietary factors, such as:

- bad oral hygiene

- gum disease

- caries

- periodontal diseases

- stomatitis

- poor nutrition and digestion

- diets rich in protein and dairy products

- smoking

- Dryness of the mouth (xerostomia)

- intake of certain medications

- abuse of alcoholic beverages and coffee

The remaining 10% of cases are due to extraoral causes, such as the following pathologies

- rhinopharyngeal infections ( rhinitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis)

- pulmonary diseases (pneumonia, lung abscess)

- advanced liver disease, in this case we speak of ammonia halitosis, with a faintly sulfurous odor

- diabetic ketoacidosis that causes a sweet or fruity breath similar to acetone

- renal insufficiency that causes a urine or ammoniacal odor

- gastrointestinal diseases (esophageal diverticula, colitis, gastritis)

- tumors

- gastroesophageal reflux


To prevent and combat halitosis there are several natural remedies, as well as many practices and good daily habits to follow, such as:

- a thorough oral hygiene, with scrupulous cleaning of the teeth with toothbrush, dental floss and mouthwashes with antiseptic action, which ensure a thorough removal of food residues.

- pay more attention to the cleaning of the tongue, with special tongue-cleaning tabs, because it is on it that a large amount of bacteria responsible for bad breath is found.

- in case it is not possible to brush one's teeth after a meal, use a sugarless chewing gum or breath tablets, also because chewing increases salivation, which has an important antibacterial action.

- modify incorrect habits such as smoking and alcohol.

- avoid heavy foods that produce a bad smell as much as they are difficult to digest.

- follow a healthy and balanced diet that includes the consumption of dried fruit, cereals, vegetables and fresh fruit.

- drink plenty of water.

Among natural remedies suggested to refresh the mouth we can mention citrus drinks and in particular lemon and the use of foods such as parsley, celery, cloves, cinnamon and yogurt.

It is also possible to use essential oils for rinsing, such as a few drops of peppermint in a little water or water and bicarbonate of soda.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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